Gaining Insight into Piezoelectric Materials for Acoustic Streaming

G. Potter
SUNY Albany, NY, USA

Many sensors, such as flow sensors and those used in medical diagnostics, rely on microfluidic devices. However, mixing and pumping fluids becomes challenging because of the small size of these devices. As an alternative to traditional actuation methods, surface acoustic waves (SAWs) can be used to create fluid streaming. Through a collaboration between SUNY Albany and SEMATECH, researchers have modeled and simulated a configuration of interdigitated transducers (IDTs), along with the piezoelectric substrate configuration and harmonic vibrations that generate SAWs. Using COMSOL Multiphysics, they studied the factors that affect the optimization of the device geometry, such as the acoustic streaming response and resonant frequency. Using their simulation results, they have confirmed that SAWs with greater vertical displacements have higher streaming velocities, and have correlated their results to experimental measurements.

Simulation results showing vertical displacement and displacement field of surface acoustic waves (SAWs) at resonance.