figures for moving objects with ultrasound waves

Ilic Lab Discovers New Method to Move Objects Using Ultrasound Waves

ME Assistant Professor Ognjen Ilic's research group at the Laboratory for Nano Optics and Mechanics developed a contactless manipulation method that could allow devices to move without a built-in power source. This hands-free method is able to move bigger objects than in previous research projects, and can both push and pull the object in a specific direction.

"We have known for a while that waves and light and sound can manipulate objects. What sets our research apart is that we can manipulate and trap much bigger objects if we make their surface a metamaterial surface, or a 'metasurface,'" said Ilic, senior author of the study. "When we place these tiny patterns on the surface of the objects, we can basically reflect the sound in any direction we want. And in doing that, we can control the acoustic force that is exerted on an object."

The study also adds to researchers' theoretical understanding of the field. Matthew Stein, first author of the paper and an ME graduate student, said, "Outside of the applications that this research enables, expanding upon our knowledge of physics is just a very exciting thing to do in general."