Particle-size-dependent acoustophoretic motion and depletion of micro- and nanoparticles at long time scales
We present three-dimensional measurements of size-dependent acoustophoretic motion of microparticles with diameters from 4.8 um down to 0.5 um suspended in either homogeneous or inhomogeneous fluids inside a glass-silicon microchannel and exposed to a standing ultrasound wave. To study the cross-over from radiation force dominated to streaming dominated motion as the particle size is decreased, we extend previous studies to long time scales, where the particles smaller than the cross-over size move over distances comparable to the channel width. We observe a particle-size-dependent particle depletion at late times for the particles smaller than the cross-over size. The mechanisms behind this depletion in homogeneous fluids are rationalized by numerical simulations which take the Brownian motion into account. Experimentally, the particle trajectories in inhomogeneous fluids show focusing in the bulk of the microchannel at early times, even for the particles below the critical size, which clearly demonstrates the potential to manipulate submicrometer particles.