Fluid manipulations at the microscale and beyond are powerfully enabled through the use of 10–1,000-MHz acoustic waves. A superior alternative in many cases to other microfluidic actuation techniques, such high-frequency acoustics is almost universally produced by surface acoustic wave devices that employ electromechanical transduction in wafer-scale or thin-film piezoelectric media to generate the kinetic energy needed to transport and manipulate fluids placed in adjacent microfluidic structures. These waves are responsible for a diverse range of complex fluid transport phenomena—from interfacial fluid vibration and drop and confined fluid transport to jetting and atomization—underlying a flourishing research literature spanning fundamental fluid physics to chip-scale engineering applications. We highlight some of this literature to provide the reader with a historical basis, routes for more detailed study, and an impression of the field's future directions.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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