A sonic screwdriver: acoustic angular momentum transfer for ultrasonic manipulation

Christine Demore (Lead / Corresponding author), Zhengyi Yang, Alex Volovick, Han Wang, Sandy Cochran, Michael MacDonald, Gabriel Spalding

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Dexterous manipulation of objects in travelling wave beams can be achieved by modulating the phase profile of a coherent source to generate reconfigurable and complex interference patterns that can impart momentum on objects in the field. In this paper we use a commercially available matrix array operating at 550 kHz to generate helical ultrasonic beams to demonstrate the complexity of beam shapes that can be achieved from a system with approximately 1000 elements. Helical ultrasonic beams carry orbital angular momentum, due to the inclination of the wavefront, that increases with vorticity, or number of intertwined helices. The beams are used to both levitate and rotate a 100 mm diameter disk of acoustic absorber material in a water-filled chamber above the matrix array. The observed levitation of the absorber decreases with increasing vorticity because of the inclination of the wavefront away from the beam axis. The angular momentum transferred to the absorber increases with both the vorticity and the power of the ultrasonic beam. There was no evidence of aliasing of phase pattern applied to the array even with vorticity greater than 10, demonstrating the capability of a matrix array system for dexterous manipulation of objects with ultrasonic beams.

    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherIEEE Computer Society
    Number of pages4
    ISBN (Print)9781457712524
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    Event2011 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS) - Orlando, United States
    Duration: 18 Oct 201121 Oct 2011


    Conference2011 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS)
    Abbreviated title2011 IEEE IUS
    CountryUnited States
    Internet address

    Student Theses

    Development of Electronic Systems for Ultrasonic Particle Manipulation

    Author: Wang, H., 2015

    Supervisor: Cochran, S. (Supervisor) & Demore, C. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Optical and acoustic beam shaping for imaging and manipulation

    Author: Yang, Z., 2014

    Supervisor: MacDonald, M. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Press / Media

    Sonic Screwdriver Tightens up Fundamental Physics

    Christine E. M. Demore & Michael MacDonald


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Research

    Cite this

    Demore, C., Yang, Z., Volovick, A., Wang, H., Cochran, S., MacDonald, M., & Spalding, G. (2012). A sonic screwdriver: acoustic angular momentum transfer for ultrasonic manipulation. In 2011 IEEE INTERNATIONAL ULTRASONICS SYMPOSIUM (IUS) (pp. 180-183). IEEE Computer Society. https://doi.org/10.1109/ULTSYM.2011.0045