Departmental Papers (MEAM)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

February 2006


Copyright (2006) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. Reprinted in Applied Physics Letters, Volume 88, Article 091913, February 2006, 3 pages.
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NOTE: At the time of publication, author Robert W. Carpick was affiliated with the University of Wisconsin. Currently (June 2007), he is a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania.


We demonstrate controlled manipulation of large quantities of microparticles on a surface using inertial forces. Motion is induced by applying a periodic parabolic wave form to a shear-polarized piezoelectric plate coupled to a substrate on which the particles reside. Particles move in steps of 10 to 50 nm per cycle, and the particle motion is mass selective. Particle velocity is varied by changing the frequency of the wave form. Calculated inertial forces acting on the particles correspond closely to friction forces between individual microparticles and the substrate, as measured by coupling an individual particle to an atomic force microscope. The results provide insight into the characteristics of particle-surface interactions, and demonstrate the potential for controlled manipulation and separation of large collections of particles without the need for a fluid medium. (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics.


friction, atomic force microscopy, separation, nanoparticles, nanopositioning



Date Posted: 22 June 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.