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Creating 3D Objects with Sound

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Using sound waves to create a pressure field to print particles.

Using high-frequency ultrasound inaudible to the human ear, the wavelengths can be pushed into the microscopic realm, to be used by the researcher to manipulate very small building blocks, like biological cells.

Credit: Kai Melde, MPI for Medical Research; Heidelberg University

Scientists at Germany's Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Medical Research, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Heidelberg University, and Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering have created a technique for assembling three-dimensional (3D) objects using ultrasound.

The concept applies multiple acoustic holograms to generate pressure fields for printing solid particles, gel beads, and even biological cells.

The method involves capturing particles and cells floating in water and configuring them into 3D objects.

MPI’s Heiner Kremer, who produced the algorithm for optimizing the hologram, explained, "The digitization of an entire 3D object into ultrasound hologram fields is computationally very demanding and required us to come up with a new computation routine."

From Max Planck Institute for Medical Research (Germany)
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