This dissertation studies the manipulation of particles using acoustic stimulation for applications in microfluidics and templating of devices. The term particle is used here to denote any solid, liquid or gaseous material that has properties, which are distinct from the fluid in which it is suspended. Manipulation means to take over the movements of the particles and to position them in specified locations.
Using devices, microfabricated out of silicon, the behavior of particles under the acoustic stimulation was studied with the main purpose of aligning the particles at either low-pressure zones, known as the nodes or high-pressure zones, known as anti-nodes. By aligning particles at the nodes in a flow system, these particles can be focused at the center or walls of a microchannel in order to ultimately separate them. These separations are of high scientific importance, especially in the biomedical domain, since acoustopheresis provides a unique approach to separate based on density and compressibility, unparalleled by other techniques. The study of controlling and aligning the particles in various geometries and configurations was successfully achieved by controlling the acoustic waves.
Apart from their use in flow systems, a stationary suspended-particle device was developed to provide controllable light transmittance based on acoustic stimuli. Using a glass compartment and a carbon-particle suspension in an organic solvent, the device responded to acoustic stimulation by aligning the particles. The alignment of light-absorbing carbon particles afforded an increase in visible light transmittance as high as 84.5%, and it was controlled by adjusting the frequency and amplitude of the acoustic wave. The device also demonstrated alignment memory rendering it energy-efficient. A similar device for suspended-particles in a monomer enabled the development of electrically conductive films. These films were based on networks of conductive particles. Elastomers doped with conductive metal particles were rendered surface conductive at particle loadings as low as 1% by weight using acoustic focusing. The resulting films were flexible and had transparencies exceeding 80% in the visible spectrum (400-800 nm) These films had electrical bulk conductivities exceeding 50 S/cm.