Acoustics and optics for nanosciences and quantum physics – Wavefront synthesis

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  • Permanent Member: Jean-Louis Thomas

Non-contact handling of solid objects is possible by using the forces exerted by electromagnetic or acoustic fields [1,2]. Optical tweezers are the best known example and earned A. Ashkin the Nobel prize 2018. But phototoxicity and heating limit the forces that can be exerted. Acoustic tweezers, whose feasibility we have demonstrated using acoustic vortices, can overcome this limitation [3]. A first experimental demonstration with 1 MHz ultrasonic frequencies allowed to manipulate objects of the order of 100µm [4] and to calculate the applied forces from the measurement of the acoustic pressure  [5]. Lithography techniques have allowed to miniaturize this device [6] which for a frequency of 47 MHz traps biological cells [7].

CaptionPrinciple of the operation of an acoustic tweezers. The ultrasonic beam is focused and at the focal length attracts a nearby beads  and then  trap it. The acoustic beam has a helical wavefront so that at the focal point the field intensity is a ring surrounding the trapped object.

The team has a strong identity based on a common culture in the field of acoustics. It brings together skills and original experimental set-up  to study acoustic  at ultrasonic frequencies covering nearly eight orders of magnitude (from tens of  kHz to a few THz). The targeted approach is based  on the synthesis of waves likely to probe or manipulate matter up to nanometric scales. This situation is quite unique in the national and international landscape.



  • Institut Jean le Rond d’Alembert), IEMN Lille



[1] J.-L. Thomas, R. Marchiano, D. Baresch. Acoustical and optical radiation pressures and the development of single beam acoustical tweezers. J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf. 195, 55-66 (2017)

[2] M. Baudoin, J.-L. Thomas. Acoustical tweezers for particles and fluids micromanipulation. Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech. 52:205-234 (2020)

[3] D. Baresch, J.-L. Thomas, R. Marchiano. Spherical vortex beams of high radial degree for enhanced single-beam tweezers. J. Appl. Phys. 113, 184901 (2013)

[4] D. Baresch, J.-L. Thomas, R. Marchiano. Observation of a single-beam gradient force acoustical trap for elastic particles: Acoustical tweezers. Phys. Rev. Letters, 116, 024301 (2016)

[5] D. Zhao, J-L. Thomas and R. Marchiano. Computation of the radiation force exerted by the acoustic tweezers using pressure field measurements. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 146 (3) 1650–60 (2019)

[6] M. Baudoin, J.-C. Gerbedoen, A. Riaud, O. Bou Matar, N. Smagin, J.-L. Thomas. Folding a focalized acoustical vortex on a flat holographic transducer: miniaturized selective acoustical tweezers. Sci. Adv. 5 (4) eaav1967 (2019)

[7] M. Baudoin, J.-L. Thomas, R. Al Sahely, J.-C. Gerbedoen, Z. Gong, A. Sivery, O. Bou Matar, N. Smagin P. Favreau A. Vlandas. Spatially selective manipulation of cells with single-beam acoustical tweezers » Nat Commun 11, 4244 (2020)