Measurements of the force fields within an acoustic standing wave using holographic optical tweezers

P. G. Bassindale, D. B. Phillips, A. C. Barnes, B. W. Drinkwater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Direct measurement of the forces experienced by micro-spheres in an acoustic standing wave device have been obtained using calibrated optical traps generated with holographic optical tweezers. A micro-sphere, which is optically trapped in three dimensions, can be moved through the acoustic device to measure forces acting upon it. When the micro-sphere is subjected to acoustic forces, it's equilibrium position is displaced to a position where the acoustic forces and optical forces are balanced. Once the optical trapping stiffness has been calibrated, observation of this displacement enables a direct measurement of the forces acting upon the micro-sphere. The measured forces are separated into a spatially oscillating component, attributed to the acoustic radiation force, and a constant force, attributed to fluid streaming. As the drive conditions of the acoustic device were varied, oscillating forces (>2.5 pNpp) and streaming forces (<0.2 pN) were measured. A 5 μm silica micro-sphere was used to characterise a 6.8 MHz standing wave, λ = 220 μm, to a spatial resolution limited by the uncertainty in the positioning of the micro-sphere (here to within 2 nm) and with a force resolution on the order of 10 fN. The results have application in the design and testing of acoustic manipulation devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number163504
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2014


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