Computational Image Analysis of Guided Acoustic Waves Enables Rheological Assessment of Sub-nanoliter Volumes

ACS Nano. 2019 Oct 22;13(10):11062-11069. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.9b03219. Epub 2019 Sep 19.


We present a method for the computational image analysis of high frequency guided sound waves based upon the measurement of optical interference fringes, produced at the air interface of a thin film of liquid. These acoustic actuations induce an affine deformation of the liquid, creating a lensing effect that can be readily observed using a simple imaging system. We exploit this effect to measure and analyze the spatiotemporal behavior of the thin liquid film as the acoustic wave interacts with it. We also show that, by investigating the dynamics of the relaxation processes of these deformations when actuation ceases, we are able to determine the liquid's viscosity using just a lens-free imaging system and a simple disposable biochip. Contrary to all other acoustic-based techniques in rheology, our measurements do not require monitoring of the wave parameters to obtain quantitative values for fluid viscosities, for sample volumes as low as 200 pL. We envisage that the proposed methods could enable high throughput, chip-based, reagent-free rheological studies within very small samples.

Keywords: computational image analysis; guided acoustic waves; holography; microscopy; rheology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't