Login processing...

Trial ends in Request Full Access Tell Your Colleague About Jove


Fabrication and Characterization of Thickness Mode Piezoelectric Devices for Atomization and Acoustofluidics

Published: August 5, 2020 doi: 10.3791/61015


Fabrication of piezoelectric thickness mode transducers via direct current sputtering of plate electrodes on lithium niobate is described. Additionally, reliable operation is achieved with a transducer holder and fluid supply system and characterization is demonstrated via impedance analysis, laser doppler vibrometry, high-speed imaging, and droplet size distribution using laser scattering.


We present a technique to fabricate simple thickness mode piezoelectric devices using lithium niobate (LN). Such devices have been shown to atomize liquid more efficiently, in terms of flow rate per power input, than those that rely on Rayleigh waves and other modes of vibration in LN or lead zirconate titanate (PZT). The complete device is composed of a transducer, a transducer holder, and a fluid supply system. The fundamentals of acoustic liquid atomization are not well known, so techniques to characterize the devices and to study the phenomena are also described. Laser Doppler vibrometry (LDV) provides vibration information essential in comparing acoustic transducers and, in this case, indicates whether a device will perform well in thickness vibration. It can also be used to find the resonance frequency of the device, though this information is obtained more quickly via impedance analysis. Continuous fluid atomization, as an example application, requires careful fluid flow control, and we present such a method with high-speed imaging and droplet size distribution measurements via laser scattering.


Ultrasound atomization has been studied for almost a century and although there are many applications, there are limitations in understanding the underlying physics. The first description of the phenomenon was made by Wood and Loomis in 19271, and since then there have been developments in the field for applications ranging from delivering aerosolized pharmaceutical fluids2 to fuel injection3. Although the phenomenon works well in these applications, the underlying physics is not well understood4,5,6.

A key limitation in the field of ultrasonic atomization is the choice of material used, lead zirconate titanate (PZT), a hysteretic material prone to heating7 and lead contamination with elemental lead available from the inter-grain boundaries8,9. Grain size and mechanical and electronic properties of grain boundaries also limit the frequency at which PZT can operate10. By contrast, lithium niobate is both lead-free and exhibits no hysteresis11, and can be used to atomize fluids an order of magnitude more efficiently than commercial atomizers12. The traditional cut of lithium niobate used for operation in the thickness mode is the 36-degree Y-rotated cut, but the 127.86-degree Y-rotated, X-propagating cut (128YX), typically used for surface acoustic wave generation, has been shown to have a higher surface displacement amplitude in comparison with the 36-degree cut13 when operated in resonance and low loss. It has also been shown that thickness mode operation offers an order of magnitude improvement in atomizer efficiency over other modes of vibration13, even when using LN.

The resonance frequency of a piezoelectric device operating in the thickness mode is governed by its thickness t: the wavelength λ = 2t/n where n = 1, 2,... is the number of anti-nodes. For a 500 µm thick substrate, this corresponds to a wavelength of 1 mm for the fundamental mode, which can then be used to calculate the fundamental resonance frequency, f = v/λ if the wave speed, v, is known. The speed of sound through the thickness of 128YX LN is approximately 7,000 m/s, and so f = 7 MHz. Unlike other forms of vibration, particularly surface-bound modes, it is straightforward to excite higher-order thickness mode harmonics to much higher frequencies, here to 250 MHz or more, though only the odd-numbered modes may be excited by uniform electric fields14. Consequently, the second harmonic (n = 2) near 14 MHz cannot be excited, but the third harmonic at 21 MHz (n = 3) can. Fabrication of efficient thickness mode devices requires depositing electrodes onto opposing faces of the transducer. We use direct current (DC) sputtering to accomplish this, but electron-beam deposition and other methods could be used. Impedance analysis is useful to characterize the devices, particularly in finding the resonance frequencies and electromechanical coupling at these frequencies. Laser Doppler vibrometry (LDV) is useful to determine the output vibration amplitude and velocity without contact or calibration15, and, via scanning, the LDV provides the spatial distribution of surface deformation, revealing the mode of vibration associated with a given frequency. Finally, for the purposes of studying atomization and fluid dynamics, high-speed imaging can be employed as a technique to study the development of capillary waves on the surface of a sessile drop16,17. In atomization, like many other acoustofluidic phenomena, small droplets are produced at a rapid rate, over 1 kHz in a given location, too quickly for high-speed cameras to observe with sufficient fidelity and field of view to provide useful information over a sufficiently large droplet sample size. Laser scattering may be used for this purpose, passing the droplets through an expanded laser beam to (Mie) scatter some of the light in reflection and refraction to produce a characteristic signal that may be used to statistically estimate the droplet size distribution.

It is straightforward to fabricate piezoelectric thickness mode transducers, but the techniques required in device and atomization characterization have not been clearly stated in the literature to date, hampering progress in the discipline. In order for a thickness mode transducer to be effective in an atomization device, it must be mechanically isolated so that its vibration is not damped and it must have a continuous fluid supply with a flow rate equal to the atomization rate so that neither desiccation nor flooding occur. These two practical considerations have not been thoroughly covered in the literature because their solutions are the result of engineering techniques rather than pure scientific novelty, but they are nonetheless critical to studying the phenomenon. We present a transducer holder assembly and a liquid wicking system as solutions. This protocol offers a systematic approach to atomizer fabrication and characterization for facilitating further research in fundamental physics and myriad applications.

Subscription Required. Please recommend JoVE to your librarian.


1. Thickness mode transducer fabrication via DC sputtering

  1. Wafer preparation
    1. Place a 100 mm 128YX LN wafer in a clean glass dish of at least 125 mm diameter. Sonicate the wafer in at least 200 mL of acetone for 5 min.
    2. Repeat sonication with isopropyl alcohol and again with deionized water for 5 min each.
    3. Remove visible water from the surface using dry nitrogen.
    4. Completely remove water from the surface by placing the wafer on a hotplate at 100 °C for 5 min. Ensure that there is a sheet of aluminum foil on the hotplate as this helps in dissipation of charge buildup on the wafer.
  2. Electrode deposition
    1. Place the wafer in the vacuum chamber of the sputter deposition system and pump down the chamber to 5 x 10-6 mTorr. Set the argon pressure to 2.3 mTorr and the rotation speed to 13 rpm.
      NOTE: If parameters for the specific instrument being used have been established that result in high quality films, then use those instead.
    2. Deposit 5−10 nm of titanium at 1.2−1.6 A/s.
      NOTE: Before beginning this process with the intended wafer, test the deposition rate with the plasma power set to 200 W and depositing for 1 min. Then measure the height of the layer with a profilometer. Do this separately for each metal. Set the power according to this test in order to achieve the stated deposition rate.
    3. Deposit 1-1.2 µm of gold at 7−9 A/s.
      NOTE: Deposition at a higher rate due to increased plasma power or increased argon partial pressure may reduce film quality.
    4. Remove the wafer and repeat steps 1.2.1−1.2.3 for the second side of the wafer.
  3. Dicing
    1. Use a dicing saw to dice the entire wafer as needed.
      NOTE: A protective resist can be applied on the substrate prior to dicing, and the system (Table of Materials) used here applies a UV curable film just before the samples are loaded on the dicing stage. It is found that dicing the samples with an automated dicing saw does not compromise the integrity of the samples. Hand-scribe dicing of LN is possible, though tedious and prone to inconsistencies.

2. Making electrical and mechanical contact with the transducer

NOTE: Several methods are described below (steps 2.1−2.4), and it is highlighted later in the protocol which method is most appropriate for each subsequent step.

  1. Place a diced transducer flat on a magnetic steel plate. Mount one pogo-probe in contact with the plate and another pogo-probe in contact with the top surface of the transducer. Hereafter this will be referred to as pogo-plate contact.
  2. Place the transducer between two pogo-probes. Hereafter referred to as pogo-pogo contact.
  3. Solder wire to each face of the transducer. Hereafter referred to as solder contact.
  4. Assemble a custom transducer holder.
    1. Order the custom printed circuit boards (PCBs) whose Gerber files have been provided.
    2. Solder two surface mount spring contacts(Table of Materials) to each custom PCB. Press fit the spikes into the plated holes on the custom PCBs such that they point away from each other.
    3. Connect the two custom PCBs with board spacers and screws so that the contacts are just in contact with each other. Adjust the spacing with plastic washers if necessary.
    4. Slide a 3 mm x 10 mm transducer in between the inner pair of contacts. Clip the outer contacts so they do not short the circuit.
      NOTE: Figure 1 shows the entire assembly.

3. Resonance frequency identification via impedance analysis

  1. Ensure that a port calibration has been performed according to the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific contact method being used.
  2. Connect a transducer to the open port of the network analyzer (Table of Materials) with one of the contact methods described in steps 2.1−2.4.
    NOTE: It can be instructive to repeat this analysis with multiple electrical contact methods and compare the results.
  3. Select the reflection coefficient parameter, s11, via the user interface of the network analyzer, choose the frequency range of interest, and perform the frequency sweep.
    NOTE: s11 is the input reflection coefficient and has a minimum value at the resonance frequency of operation. For a typical 500 µm thick 128YX LN wafer, the primary resonance frequency will be near 7 MHz and the second harmonic will be near 21 MHz, as illustrated in Figure 2. The impedance plot in frequency space displayed on the instrument will exhibit local minima at the resonance frequencies.
  4. Export the data by selecting Save/Recall | Save Trace Data on the user interface for closer inspection using data processing software to identify the precise minima locations.

4. Vibration characterization via LDV

  1. Place a transducer in pogo-plate contact on the LDV stage. Connect the pogo-probe leads to the signal generator. Ensure that the objective in use is selected in the acquisition software (Table of Materials) and focus the microscope on the surface of the transducer.
  2. Define the scan points by selecting Define scan points or proceed to step 4.3 if performing a continuous scan.
  3. Select the Settings option and under the General tab, select either the FFT or Time option depending on whether the scan is being performed in frequency or time domain. Select the number of averages in this section.
    NOTE: The number of averages affects scan time. Five averages for the transducers described in this protocol have shown to give sufficient signal/noise ratio.
  4. In the Channel tab, make sure that the Active boxes are checked, which correspond to the reference and reflected signal from the transducer. Adjust the reference and incident channels by selecting a voltage value from the drop-down menu in order to obtain maximum signal strength from the substrate.
  5. In the Generator tab, if the measurement is carried out under single frequency signal, select Sine from the Waveform pull down list; if it is under a band signal, select MultiCarrierCW.
  6. Change the bandwidth and FFT lines in the Frequency tab to adjust the scan resolution for a frequency domain scan. Similarly, change the Sample Frequency in the Time tab when performing time domain measurements.
    NOTE: The bandwidth typically used is 40 MHz and the number of FFT lines is 32,000. The presentation software (Table of Materials) can be used to process and analyze the data obtained from the scan. A typical displacement spectrum is provided in Figure 3.

5. Fluid supply

  1. Obtain a 25 mm long, 1 mm diameter wick composed of a bundle of fibers of a hydrophilic polymer designed to transport aqueous liquid across its length such as those available for plug-in air fresheners. Trim one end such that an off center point is formed.
  2. Insert the wick into a syringe tip with an inner diameter that provides a snug fit and a length that allows the wick to extend 1−2 mm beyond each end. Lock the tip onto a syringe with the desired capacity (1−10 mL).
  3. Mount the wick/syringe assembly such that the wick is 10°−90° from horizontal (depending on the desired atomization rate, which also depends on the applied voltage) and the tip of the wick is just in contact with the edge of the transducer as shown in Figure 1C.
  4. Fill the syringe with water and apply a continuous voltage signal (starting with 20 Vpp) at the resonance frequency determined using the impedance analyzer. Adjust the voltage level until the liquid is atomized continuously without the device flooding or drying out.

6. Dynamics observation via high-speed imaging

  1. Rigidly mount a high-speed camera horizontally on an optical table, place a transducer in either pogo-pogo contact or pogo-plate contact on an x-y-z stage near the focal length of the camera, and position a diffuse light source at least one focal length on the opposite side of the transducer from the camera.
  2. For pogo-pogo contact, position the fluid supply so that it does not block the camera view or the light source. For pogo-plate contact, apply fluid directly to the substrate with a pipette.
  3. Adjust the camera focus and the x-y-z position to bring the fluid sample into sharp focus.
  4. Estimate the frequency of the specific phenomenon to be studied based on literature. Choose a frame rate at least twice as large as this frequency according to the Nyquist rate in order to avoid aliasing.
    NOTE: For example, consider capillary waves that occur on a sessile drop at a range of frequencies. Cameras limited in spatial resolution can only distinguish waves with a minimum amplitude. In this case the minimum amplitude occurs around 4 kHz so a frame rate of 8,000 frames per second (fps) is chosen.
  5. Adjust the light intensity, the camera shutter, or both in order to optimize contrast between the fluid and the background.
    NOTE: An opaque dye can be added to the fluid in order to increase the contrast.
  6. Connect alligator clips from the amplified signal generator to the pogo-probes leads.
  7. Capture video in the camera software simultaneously with actuation via the voltage signal either by manually triggering both at the same time or by connecting a trigger output from the signal generator to the camera.
    NOTE: The typical frame rate used is 8,000 fps and a CF4 objective is used.
  8. Save only the frames containing the phenomenon to avoid wasted storage, which is particularly relevant at large frame rates, to produce a result as shown in Figure 4.
    NOTE: Make sure to save the file in a format that is compatible with the image processing software of choice so that useful data can be extracted.

7. Droplet size measurement via laser scattering analysis

  1. The laser scattering system (Table of Materials) has a module that transmits the laser and one that receives the scattered laser signal. Position the modules along the rail provided with the system, with a 20−25 cm gap between them.
  2. Rigidly mount a platform in this gap such that, when the transducer and fluid supply assemblies are placed on it, atomized mist will be ejected into the laser beam path. Facilitate this alignment by turning on the laser beam via selecting Tools | Laser Control... | Laser on as a visual indicator.
  3. Fix the transducer holder to the platform and fix the fluid supply assembly to an articulated arm (Table of Materials). Position the fluid supply assembly so that the tip of the wick is just in contact with the edge of the transducer.
  4. Create a standard operating procedure (SOP) in the software by clicking the New SOP icon. Configure the SOP with the following settings: template = Default continuous, sampling period (s) = 0.1, under Data handling, click Edit... and set Spray profile | Path length (mm) to 20.0, click Alarms to uncheck Use default values and set Min transmission (%) to 5 and 1 and set Min scattering to 50 and 10. Leave all other settings as defaults.
    NOTE: Consult the software manual that came with the instrument.
  5. Start the measurement within the software by clicking Measure | Start SOP and selecting the SOP created in step 7.4. Wait for background calibrations to complete. Fill the fluid supply reservoir, the syringe, with water up to the desired level and note the volume. Turn on the voltage signal to begin atomizing the fluid. Start the stopwatch and start the measurement by clicking Start.
  6. The software generates a size distribution based on the scattered laser signal at the receiver due to Mie theory and a multiple scattering algorithm. Once the desired volume of fluid has been atomized, turn off the voltage signal, stop the stopwatch, and record the final volume, and stop recording data by clicking Stop.
    NOTE: The laser scattering system is capable of measuring as little as 1 μL of fluid and does not have an upper limit for fluid volume. The atomization flow rate can simply be calculated by dividing the volume by the time duration.
  7. In the measurement histogram, select the portion of the data during which the atomization was occurring as expected and the signal at the receiver was strong enough to be statistically significant. Click Average | Ok to generate a distribution based on the selected data.
    NOTE: All measurements with this technique are statistical averages and thus, if there are too few droplets, then the scattered signal will be weak, and the measurement will be statistically insignificant.
  8. Save the average distribution by selecting the window and clicking Edit | Copy text then pasting the result in a text file and saving with an appropriate name.
    NOTE: This distribution data can now be used with other software (e.g., MATLAB) to create the plot in Figure 5.

Subscription Required. Please recommend JoVE to your librarian.

Representative Results

Thickness mode piezoelectric devices were fabricated from 128YX lithium niobate. Figure 1 shows a complete assembly to hold the transducer in place with a custom transducer holder used with the passive fluid delivery system developed for continuous atomization. The characterization steps for these devices include determination of the resonant frequency and harmonics using an impedance analyzer (Figure 2). The fundamental frequency of the devices was found to be close to 7 MHz using the technique described in this protocol, as predicted by the thickness of the substrate. Further characterization of substrate vibration was performed using noncontact laser Doppler vibrometer measurements. These measurements determine the magnitude of displacement of the substrate and is usually in the nm range (Figure 3). Continuous atomization is essential to enable practical applications of thickness mode devices, and this has been demonstrated by developing a passive fluid delivery system to the substrate. Finally, two techniques were described to observe droplet vibration and atomization dynamics by performing high-speed imaging and by measuring droplet size distribution as shown in Figure 4 and Figure 5.

Figure 1
Figure 1: The whole assembly of a custom transducer holder. (A) The positions of the transducer holder and the fluid supply assembly are each controlled with articulating arms such that the tip of the wick is just in contact with the edge of the transducer. Inset (B) reveals nature of the electrical and mechanical contact with the transducer electrodes. Inset (C) reveals the nature of the contact between the transducer edge and the fluid wick. Please click here to view a larger version of this figure.

Figure 2
Figure 2: The real s11 scattering parameter values measured over a range of 1−25 MHz for a 127.86° YX lithium niobate device, indicating the presence of a resonance peak at approximately 7 MHz. Please click here to view a larger version of this figure.

Figure 3
Figure 3: A multi-carrier, FFT scan with 5 averages at each point was performed over 9 by 9 scan points defined in a 0.6 by 0.6 mm area in the frequency range 5−25 MHz. The reported displacement is the maximum displacement averaged over all points. The fundamental thickness mode for 0.5 mm thick LN can be seen at 7 MHz, and a weaker second harmonic is present at ~21 MHz. Notice there are multiple narrow peaks at each resonance due to interference with lateral modes. Multi-carrier scans spread the voltage input, so the displacement here is not an accurate measure of the performance of the device. For such a measurement, it is recommended to perform a single-frequency scan at the resonance frequency and with application relevant voltages. For example, this 10 mm x 5 mm thickness mode transducer produces a 5 nm max amplitude at 45 Vpp when driven at 6.93 MHz. Please click here to view a larger version of this figure.

Figure 4
Figure 4: Onset of capillary waves on a 2 µL water drop is indicated by an 8,000 fps video of the fluid interface; the drop is driven by a thickness mode transducer driven at 6.9 MHz, showing the significant time difference between the hydrodynamic response and the acoustic excitation. Please click here to view a larger version of this figure.

Figure 5
Figure 5: Droplet size distribution is typically measured as a volume fraction versus the droplet diameter, here comparing (A) a commercial nebulizer and (B) an LN thickness mode device, both using water. Please click here to view a larger version of this figure.

Supplemental Figure 1: A comparison of the impedance analysis spectra for the same transducer with two different forms of electrical contact (pogo-plate, pogo-pogo, and transducer holder) shows significant differences in s11 scattering parameter values. Please click here to download this file.

Movie 1: LDV vibration mode of 5 mm x 5 mm square transducer. Please click here to view this video. (Right-click to download.)

Movie 2: LDV vibration modes of 3 mm x 10 mm transducer. These are close approximations to thickness modes without the presence of significant lateral modes. Please click here to view this video. (Right-click to download.)

Subscription Required. Please recommend JoVE to your librarian.


The dimensions and aspect ratio of a transducer affects the vibration modes it produces. Because the lateral dimensions are finite, there are always lateral modes in addition to the desired thickness modes. The above LDV methods can be used to determine dominant modes in the desired frequency range for a given transducer. A square with dimensions below 10 mm typically gives a close approximation to a thickness mode. Three by ten millimeter rectangles also work well. Movie 1 and Movie 2 show LDV area scans of the square and the 3 mm x 10 mm transducers indicating that they are close to the thickness mode. These have been empirically determined rather than selected by simulation and design, though such methods could be used to find ideal lateral dimensions.

The method of electrical and mechanical contact with the transducer also affects the vibrations it produces since these are the boundary conditions to which the piezoelectric plate is subject. We have included an impedance spectrum for three measurement techniques: pogo-plate, pogo-pogo, and transducer holder as a comparison in Supplemental Figure 1. Clearly, the resonance peak locations are not changed in this case by our choices of contact. We do note that mechanical contact between the transducer and a plate surface dampens vibrations making atomization less efficient. Pogo-plate contact is used in the case of LDV measurements, because it is the simplest way to get a flat, stationary surface on which to focus the laser.

The fluid supply assembly described here relies on capillary action and gravity to passively resupply the transducer with a thin film of water as it is atomized away. The vibration of the transducer produces an acoustowetting effect that can be enough to create a thin film and avoid flooding, but in some cases a hydrophilic treatment will be necessary on the transducer surface. If continuous atomization is not achieved, this is the most likely route to resolving the problem.

Measurements were performed with an ultra-high frequency vibrometer (Table of Materials) here, but other LDVs may be used. Electrical contact can be made by soldering a wire to each face of the transducer, though the solder can significantly alter the resonance frequencies and modes of the transducer. Another technique is to place the transducer on a metal base and use “pogo” spring contact probes pressed into contact on the top face of the piezoelectric transducer element while it sits flat upon the stage, useful when a large area has to be scanned. Accurate measurement of the resonance frequencies is important to efficiently operate the transducer and maximize energy throughput to mechanical motion at these frequencies. A frequency scan using the LDV provides this information, but requires a long time, on the order of tens of min. An impedance analyzer can determine the resonance frequencies much more quickly, often less than a minute. However, unlike the LDV, the impedance-based measurement does not provide information on the vibration amplitude at the resonance frequencies, which is important in determining fluid atomization off the surface of the transducer.

Though vibration of the substrate occurs in the 10−100 MHz regime, the dynamics of fluids in contact with the substrate occur at far slower time scales. For example, capillary waves on the surface of a sessile drop are observable at 8,000 fps, assuming that the spatial resolution of the camera can distinguish the amplitude of a wave crest and that the wave frequency of interest is below 2,000 Hz. The camera arrangement described above images transmitted light and thus is good for observing the outline of objects that transmit light differently than air. If insufficient, a reflected or fluorescent light arrangement may be required. The exposure time for each frame decreases as the frame rate is increased so the light intensity must be increased accordingly. The objective lens should be chosen based on the length scale of the phenomenon under study, but the above protocol will work with any commonly available magnification. As an example, Figure 4 was obtained with the above high-speed video method. The contrast at the drop interface would allow these frames to be segmented in software (ImageJ and MATLAB) so that the interface dynamics may be tracked over time.

In the droplet sizing equipment used in this protocol (Table of Materials), the laser optics and scattering detectors are relatively standard but the software is proprietary and complex. In addition to Mie theory, multiple scattering events make droplet size and enumeration calculations much more difficult. Mie theory assumes that most photons are scattered only one time, but when droplets are densely spaced, i.e., the spacing between droplets is not much larger than the droplets themselves, and the spray plum covers a suefficiently large area, then this assumption fails18. As an example of troubleshooting results from this instrument, consider Figure 5. Notice that the 0.5 mm diameter peak appears in both distributions. The commercial nebulizer is known to produce monodisperse droplets near 10 µm, so the larger peak is likely either a false result due to the large amount of multi-scattering events or agglomeration of smaller droplets within the spray. This implies that the large peak in the thickness mode distribution may also be a false result. This can be directly verified by high-speed video: such large droplets would be readily visible, but they are not observed in this case.

Laser scattering particle size analysis can also be difficult when the scattering signal becomes weak. This is typically due to a low atomization rate or when part of the spray does not pass through the laser path. A weak vacuum may be used to draw the complete atomized mist through the expanded laser beam of the equipment in cases where it would otherwise escape measurement. For even greater control of spray conditions a humidity chamber can be installed around the laser beam path, but this is not required.

Subscription Required. Please recommend JoVE to your librarian.


The authors have nothing to disclose.


The authors are grateful to the University of California and the NANO3 facility at UC San Diego for provision of funds and facilities in support of this work. This work was performed in part at the San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure (SDNI) of UCSD, a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant ECCS−1542148). The work presented here was generously supported by a research grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation. The authors are also grateful for the support of this work by the Office of Naval Research (via Grant 12368098).


Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Amplifier Amplifier Research, Souderton, PA, USA 5U1000
Articulating arm Fisso, Zurich, Switzerland
CF4 Objective Edmund Optics, Barrington, NJ, USA Objective used for high speed imaging
Dicing saw Disco, Tokyo, Japan Disco Automatic Dicing Saw 3220
Fiber Fragrance Diffuser Wick Weihai Industry Co., Ltd., Weihai, Shandong, China https://www.weihaisz.com/Fiber-Fragrance-Diffuser-Wick_p216.html
High Speed Camera Photron, San Diego, USA Fastcam Mini
Laser Doppler Vibrometer Polytec, Waldbronn, Germany UHF120 Non-contact laser doppler vibrometer
Laser Scattering Droplet size measurement system Malvern Panalytical, Malvern, UK STP5315
Lithium niobate substrate PMOptics,Burlington, MA, USA PWLN-431232 4” double-side polished 0.5 mm thick 128°Y-rotated cut lithium niobate
Luer-lock syringes Becton Dickingson, New Jersey, USA
Nano3 cleanroom facility UCSD, La Jolla, CA, USA Fabrication process is performed in it.
Network Analyzer Keysight Technologies, Santa Rosa, CA, USA 5061B
Oscilloscope Keysight Technologies, Santa Rosa, CA, USA InfiniiVision 2000 X-Series
PSV Acquistion Software Polytec, Waldbronn, Germany Version 9.4 LDV Software
PSV Presentation Software Polytec, Waldbronn, Germany Version 9.4 LDV Software
Signal generator NF Corporation, Yokohama, Japan WF1967 multifunction generator
Single Post Connector DigiKey, Thief River Falls, MN ED1179-ND
Sputter deposition Denton Vacuum, NJ, USA Denton 18 Denton Discovery 18 Sputter System
Surface Mount Spring Contacts DigiKey, Thief River Falls, MN 70AAJ-2-M0GCT-ND
Teflon wafer dipper ShapeMaster, Ogden, IL, USA SM4WD1 Wafer Dipper 4"
XYZ Stage Thor Labs, Newton, New Jersey, USA MT3 Optical table stages



  1. Wood, R. W., Loomis, A. L. XXXVIII.physical and biological effects of high-frequency sound-waves of great intensity. The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science. 4 (22), 417-436 (1927).
  2. Dalmoro, A., Barba, A. A., Lambert, G., d'Amore, M. Intensifying the microencapsulation process: Ultrasonic atomization as an innovative approach. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. 80 (3), 471-477 (2012).
  3. Namiyama, K., Nakamura, H., Kokubo, K., Hosogai, D. Development of ultrasonic atomizer and its application to S.I. engines. SAE Transactions. , 701-711 (1989).
  4. Qi, A., Yeo, L. Y., Friend, J. R. Interfacial destabilization and atomization driven by surface acoustic waves. Physics of Fluids. 20 (7), 074103 (2008).
  5. Wang, J., Hu, H., Ye, A., Chen, J., Zhang, P. Experimental investigation of surface acoustic wave atomization. Sensors and Actuators A: Physical. 238, 1-7 (2016).
  6. James, A., Vukasinovic, B., Smith, M. K., Glezer, A. Vibration-induced drop atomization and bursting. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 476, 1-28 (2003).
  7. Randall, C. A., Kim, N., Kucera, J. P., Cao, W., Shrout, T. R. Intrinsic and extrinsic size effects in fine-grained morphotropic-phase-boundary lead zirconate titanate ceramics. Journal of the American Ceramic Society. 81 (3), 677-688 (1998).
  8. Tsai, S. C., Lin, S. K., Mao, R. W., Tsai, C. S. Ejection of uniform micrometer-sized droplets from Faraday waves on a millimeter-sized water drop. Physical Review Letters. 108 (15), 154501 (2012).
  9. Jeng, Y. R., Su, C. C., Feng, G. H., Peng, Y. Y., Chien, G. P. A PZT-driven atomizer based on a vibrating flexible membrane and a micro-machined trumpet-shaped nozzle array. Microsystem Technologies. 15 (6), 865-873 (2009).
  10. Lupascu, D., Rödel, J. Fatigue in bulk lead zirconate titanate actuator materials. Advanced Engineering Materials. 7 (10), 882-898 (2005).
  11. Kawamata, A., Hosaka, H., Morita, T. Non-hysteresis and perfect linear piezoelectric performance of a multilayered lithium niobate actuator. Sensors and Actuators A: Physical. 135 (2), 782-786 (2007).
  12. Qi, A., Yeo, L., Friend, J., Ho, J. The Extraction of Liquid, Protein Molecules and Yeast Cells from Paper Through Surface Acoustic Wave Atomization. Lab on a Chip. 10 (4), 470-476 (2010).
  13. Collignon, S., Manor, O., Friend, J. Improving and Predicting Fluid Atomization via Hysteresis-Free Thickness Vibration of Lithium Niobate. Advanced Functional Materials. 28 (8), 1704359 (2018).
  14. Lawson, A. The vibration of piezoelectric plates. Physical Review. 62 (1-2), 71 (1942).
  15. Fukushima, Y., Nishizawa, O., Sato, H. A performance study of a laser doppler vibrometer for measuring waveforms from piezoelectric transducers. IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control. 56 (7), 1442-1450 (2009).
  16. Thoroddsen, S., Etoh, T., Takehara, K. High-speed imaging of drops and bubbles. Annual Reviews in Fluid Mechanics. 40, 257-285 (2008).
  17. Yule, A., Al-Suleimani, Y. On droplet formation from capillary waves on a vibrating surface. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 456 (1997), 1069-1085 (2000).
  18. Hirleman, E. D. Modeling of multiple scattering effects in Fraunhofer diffraction particle size analysis. Optical Particle Sizing. Gouesbet, G., Gréhan, G. , Springer. Boston, MA. 159-175 (1988).


Fabrication Characterization Thickness Mode Piezoelectric Devices Atomization Acoustofluidics Resonance Frequency Vibrational Mode Vibration Amplitude Transducers Atomizers Independent Variables Experiments Respiratory Diseases Pneumonia Treatment Capillary Waves Droplet Surface Continuous Atomization Power Input Wick Position Wick Orientation Behavior Changes Transducer Holder Soldering Surface Mount Spring Contacts Printed Circuit Boards Spikes
Fabrication and Characterization of Thickness Mode Piezoelectric Devices for Atomization and Acoustofluidics
Play Video

Cite this Article

Vasan, A., Connacher, W., Friend, J. More

Vasan, A., Connacher, W., Friend, J. Fabrication and Characterization of Thickness Mode Piezoelectric Devices for Atomization and Acoustofluidics. J. Vis. Exp. (162), e61015, doi:10.3791/61015 (2020).

Copy Citation Download Citation Reprints and Permissions
View Video

Get cutting-edge science videos from JoVE sent straight to your inbox every month.

Waiting X
Simple Hit Counter