Research

Acoustic Levitation in Three Dimensions

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Acoustic sound is a form of pressure wave propagating through air or another fluid. Place a speaker opposite a plate, and its sound will reflect off the surface. The original pressure wave and its reflection form a standing wave. With intense enough sound waves, the acoustic radiation pressure can be large enough to counter the force of gravity on an object, causing it to levitate. We’ve shown you several examples of acoustic levitation before, including squished and vibrating droplets and applications for container-free mixing. Today’s video, however, shows the first acoustic levitation system capable of manipulating objects in three dimensions, an important step in developing the technology for application. (Video credit: Y. Ochiai et al.; via NatGeo)

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