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Towards a multi-interdigital transducer configuration to combine focusing and trapping of microparticles within a microfluidic platform: a 3D numerical analysis.
* 1 , 2
1  Politecnico di Milano, Ph.D. Student in Structural Seismic and Geotechnical Engineering, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 32, 20133 Milano, Italy
2  Professor, ESYCOM lab, Univ Gustave Eiffel, CNRS, F-77454 Marne-la-Vallée, France
Academic Editor: Stefano Mariani (registering DOI)

In lab-on-chip devices, the separation and manipulation of micro-particles within microfluidic channels are important operations in the process of biological analyses. In this study, the microfluidic flow is coupled with acoustic waves through a 3D multi-physics numerical solution in order to generate optimized acoustic pressure pattern. Exploiting interdigital transducers (IDTs), surface acoustic waves (SAWs) are generated on the surface of a piezoelectric substrate (lithium niobate). These waves interfere constructively to generate a standing pressure field within a fluid contained in a microchannel placed between them. Several studies and applications have been reported exploiting two facing IDTs, effective in particle focusing due to the acoustic radiation force developed by the acoustic pressure. In this work, a configuration made by four IDTs is investigated to enhance the focusing effect and provide trapping capabilities. A complex matrix of pressure wave nodes (zero wave amplitude) and antinodes (maximum wave amplitude) is generated and optimized to get the right acoustic pressure pattern. Results obtained show particle focusing effects but also trapping on specific sites depending on the distribution of waves. These innovative results, based on multiphysics 3D numerical analysis, highlight the versatility and the efficiency of this configuration depending on the design of the microfluidic structure implemented in the SAW-based platform. Applications towards biological cell sorting and assembling can be considered based on this principle.

Keywords: Microfluidics; Lab-on-chip; Interdigital transducers; Surface acoustic waves; Numerical analysis; Particle manipulation.