The Review of scientific instruments

Acoustic levitator for structure measurements on low temperature liquid droplets.

PMID 19725664


A single-axis acoustic levitator was constructed and used to levitate liquid and solid drops of 1-3 mm in diameter at temperatures in the range -40 to +40 degrees C. The levitator comprised (i) two acoustic transducers mounted on a rigid vertical support that was bolted to an optical breadboard, (ii) an acoustic power supply that controlled acoustic intensity, relative phase of the drive to the transducers, and could modulate the acoustic forces at frequencies up to 1 kHz, (iii) a video camera, and (iv) a system for providing a stream of controlled temperature gas flow over the sample. The acoustic transducers were operated at their resonant frequency of approximately 22 kHz and could produce sound pressure levels of up to 160 dB. The force applied by the acoustic field could be modulated to excite oscillations in the sample. Sample temperature was controlled using a modified Cryostream Plus and measured using thermocouples and an infrared thermal imager. The levitator was installed at x-ray beamline 11 ID-C at the Advanced Photon Source and used to investigate the structure of supercooled liquids.