Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Acoustic tweezers capture and manipulate tiny creatures with ultrasound

Date:
June 28, 2012
Source:
Penn State Materials Research Institute
Summary:
Bioengineers and biochemists are using a miniaturized ultrasound device to capture and manipulate biological materials, such as the tiny roundworm, C. elegans.

A miniaturized ultrasonic device capable of capturing and moving single cells and tiny living creatures is compared to a U.S. dime.
Credit: Photo Credit: Xiaoyun Ding, Stephen J. Benkovic, and Tony Jun Huang - Penn State

A team of bioengineers and biochemists from Penn State University has demonstrated a device about the size of a dime that is capable of manipulating objects, including living materials such as blood cells and entire small organisms, using sound waves.

Related Articles


Their research is published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The device, called acoustic tweezers, is the first technology capable of touchlessly trapping and manipulating Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), a one millimeter long roundworm that is an important model system for studying diseases and development in humans. Acoustic tweezers are also capable of precisely manipulating cellular-scale objects that are essential to many areas of fundamental biomedical research.

Acoustic tweezers use ultrasound, the same noninvasive technology doctors use to capture images of the fetus in the womb. The device is based on a piezoelectric material that produces mechanical motion when an electrical current is applied. The vibrations pass through transducers attached to the piezoelectric substrate where they are converted into standing surface acoustic waves (SAWs). The SAWs create pressure fields in the liquid medium that hold the specimen. The simple electronics in the device can tune the SAWs to precisely and noninvasively hold and move the specimen or inorganic object.

"We believe the device can be easily manufactured at a cost far lower than say, optical tweezers, which use lasers to manipulate single particles," says Penn State associate professor of bioengineering Tony Jun Huang, whose group pioneered acoustic tweezers. "Optical tweezers require power densities 10,000,000 times greater than our acoustic tweezers, and the lasers can heat up and damage the cells, unlike ultrasound."

For many biological systems, acoustic tweezers will provide an excellent tool to mimic the conditions inside the body where cells are subject to waves of pressure and pulses of chemicals. According to Stephen Benkovic, Evan Pugh professor of chemistry and holder of the Eberly family chair in chemistry at Penn State, whose group contributed to the paper, "Acoustic tweezers will be used to position cells for interrogation by pulses of drug-like molecules to test as well as to exert mechanical forces on the cell wall. The cells will contain bio-chemical markers, so we can observe the effect of drug pulses or pressure on the cell's biochemistry."

Acoustic tweezers are very versatile, says Huang. "We can manipulate a single cell or we can manipulate tens of thousands of cells at the same time." Currently, the size of objects that can be moved with acoustic tweezers ranges from micrometers to millimeters, although with higher frequencies, it should be possible to move objects in the nanoscale regime, they believe. Further work will include modifying the device to accommodate more fundamental biomedical studies with the Benkovic group. Ultimately, the patent pending technology could lead to compact, noninvasive, and inexpensive point-of-care applications, such as blood cell and cancer cell sorting and diagnostics. For now, the ability to trap and manipulate a living C. elegans for study is proof of their device's potential utility.

Contributing to the PNAS paper, "On-chip Manipulation of Single Microparticles, Cells, and Organisms Using Surface Acoustic Waves," are Xiaoyun Ding, Sz-Chin Steven Lin, Brian Kirby, Hongjun Yue, Sixing Li, Jinjie Shi, Stephen J. Benkovic, and Tony Jun Huang. Funding for their research was provided by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State Materials Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. X. Ding, S.-C. S. Lin, B. Kiraly, H. Yue, S. Li, I.-K. Chiang, J. Shi, S. J. Benkovic, T. J. Huang. On-chip manipulation of single microparticles, cells, and organisms using surface acoustic waves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1209288109

Cite This Page:

Penn State Materials Research Institute. "Acoustic tweezers capture and manipulate tiny creatures with ultrasound." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120628145508.htm>.
Penn State Materials Research Institute. (2012, June 28). Acoustic tweezers capture and manipulate tiny creatures with ultrasound. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120628145508.htm
Penn State Materials Research Institute. "Acoustic tweezers capture and manipulate tiny creatures with ultrasound." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120628145508.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) An hour before an apparent gas explosion sent flames soaring and debris flying at a Manhattan apartment building, injuring 19 people, utility company inspectors decided the work being done there was faulty. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) Facebook on Thursday revealed more details about its Internet-connected drone project. The drone is bigger than a 737, but lighter than a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Witnesses recount the sites and sounds of a massive explosion and subsequent building collapse in the heart of Manhattan&apos;s trendy East Village on Thursday. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins