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Amgad REZK, et al.

Surface-Reflected Bulk Waves








http://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/media-releases/2016/january/researchers-ride-new-sound-wave-health-discovery/
08 Jan 2016

Researchers ride new sound wave to health discovery

Acoustics experts at RMIT University have created a new class of sound wave – the first in more than half a century – in a breakthrough they hope could lead to a revolution in stem cell therapy.

Dr Amgad Rezk


The RMIT team combined two different types of acoustic sound waves called bulk waves and surface waves to create a new hybrid: “surface reflected bulk waves”.

The first new class of sound wave discovered in decades, the powerful waves are gentle enough to use in biomedical devices to manipulate highly fragile stem cells without causing damage or affecting their integrity, opening new possibilities in stem cell treatment.

Dr Amgad Rezk, from RMIT’s Micro/Nano Research Laboratory, said the team was already using the discovery to dramatically improve the efficiency of an innovative new “nebuliser” that could deliver vaccines and other drugs directly to the lung.

“We have used the new sound waves to slash the time required for inhaling vaccines through the nebuliser device, from 30 minutes to as little as 30 seconds,” Rezk said.

“But our work also opens up the possibility of using stem cells more efficiently for treating lung disease, enabling us to nebulise stem cells straight into a specific site within the lung to repair damaged tissue.

“This is a real game changer for stem cell treatment in the lungs.”

The researchers are using the “surface reflected bulk waves” in a breakthrough device, dubbed HYDRA, which converts electricity passing through a piezoelectric chip into mechanical vibration, or sound waves, which in turn break liquid into a spray.

“It’s basically ‘yelling’ at the liquid so it vibrates, breaking it down into vapour,” Rezk said.

Bulk sound waves operate similar to a carpet being held at one end and shaken, resulting in the whole substrate vibrating as one entity. Surface sound waves on the other hand operate more like ocean waves rolling above a swimmer’s head.    

“The combination of surface and bulk wave means they work in harmony and produce a much more powerful wave,” said Rezk, who co-authored the study with PhD researcher James Tan.

“As a result, instead of administering or nebulising medicine at around 0.2 ml per minute, we did up to 5 ml per minute. That’s a huge difference.”

The breakthrough HYDRA device is improving the effectiveness of a revolutionary new type of nebuliser developed at RMIT called Respite. Cheap, lightweight and portable, the advanced Respite nebuliser can deliver everything from precise drug doses to patients with asthma and cystic fibrosis, to insulin for diabetes patients, and needle-free vaccinations to infants.

The HYDRA research has been published in the scientific journal Advanced Materials.

For interviews: Dr Amgad Rezk (03) 9925 2238 or 0449 539 607.

For general media enquiries: Gosia Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 510 735.
 


http://www.amgadrezk.com/research.html

Discovery of Novel Acoustic waves

We have unravelled new types of acoustics waves and novel methods of exciting old ones, in a journey to excite fluids more effectively to deliver simple point of care diagnostics platforms and novel drug delivery mechanisms via inhalation therapy

Microparticle and Cell manipulation

Using unique wave patterns, we have discovered  new ways of vibrating, moving and concentrating microparticles and cells within a microlitre droplet and microchannels.





http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/la502301f
​Langmuir, 30 (37), pp 11243-11247, 2014
DOI: 10.1021/la502301f
September 3, 2014

Poloidal Flow and Toroidal Particle Ring Formation in a Sessile Drop Driven by Megahertz Order Vibration

Amgad R. Rezk, Leslie Y. Yeo, and James R. Friend

Poloidal flow is curiously formed in a microliter sessile water drop over 157–225 MHz because of acoustic streaming from three-dimensional standing Lamb waves in a lithium niobate substrate. The flow possesses radial symmetry with downwelling at the center and upwelling around the periphery of the drop. Outside this frequency range, the attenuation occurs over a length scale incompatible with the drop size and the poloidal flow vanishes. Remarkably, shear-induced migration was found to drive toroidal particle ring formation with diameters inversely proportional to the frequency of the acoustic irradiation.





http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/smll.201501105/abstract
14 July 2015
DOI: 10.1002/smll.201501105

Highly Ordered Arrays of Femtoliter Surface Droplet

Highly ordered arrays of attoliter to femtoliter droplets are created on substrates pre-patterned with smooth circular microdomains. The morphology and volume of the droplets are governed by the droplet growth dynamics during the solvent exchange. These tunable droplet arrays can be potentially exploited for the fabrication of nanolens arrays for photon manipulation, among other applications.



http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201504861/full
7 January 2016
Advanced Materials, January 2016
DOI: 10.1002/adma.201504861

HYbriD Resonant Acoustics (HYDRA)

Amgad R. Rezk, James K. Tan and Leslie Y. Yeo.  

The existence of what is termed here as a surface-reflected bulk wave is unraveled and elucidated, and it is shown, quite counterintuitively, that it is possible to obtain an order-of-magnitude improvement in microfluidic manipulation efficiency, and, in particular, nebulization, through a unique combination of surface and bulk waves without increasing complexity or cost.



WO2015054742
PIEZOELECTRIC ACTUATION PLATFORM


Inventor(s): REZK AMGAD / YEO LESLIE / FRIEND JAMES

A piezoelectric actuation platform (1) including piezoelectric substrate (3) formed from a single crystal piezoelectric material, and at least one simple electrode (5) in contact with the piezoelectric substrate for applying an electrical signal to the substrate such that a lamb or surface acoustic wave can be generated within said substrate.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[00013 The present invention is generally directed to piezoelectric actuated apparatus, and in particular to a piezoelectric actuation platform for use in such apparatus,

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

[0002] Ceramic, polycrystalline materials such as lead zirconate titanate (commonly known as 'PZT'), are commonl selected as a substrate for a piezoelectric actuation platform because this material offers large electromechanical coupling coefficients, kf, being the ratio between the produced mechanical energy to the input electrical energy. The presence of lead in PZT however limits its potential uses in consumer and medical technology, In order to provide a lead free substrate, the use of single crystal piezoelectric materials not containing leads, such as Hthium niobate (LiNbOs) has therefore been considered for use in such applications.

[00033 Compared with PZT and other ceramic, polycrystalline materials that offer large electromechanical coupling coefficients, kt<2>, the use of single crystal, piezoelectric material is traditionally viewed as only reasonable for very high frequency (VHF) devices and up, from ~1 MHz to -100 GHz in frequency. These single crystal piezoelectric materials include, but are not limited to, bulk lithium niobate, thin film lithium niobate, bulk lithium tanfalate, thin film lithium tanta!ate. Gallium Nitride, Quartz and Langasite. This is principally due to their relatively tow kt<2>„ However, the large quality factor, Q, and associated low damping of single crystal materials are an important aspect. The quality factor for Lithium Niobate is around 20.000, while the quality factor of PZT, even under the most ideal of conditions, is only around 1000 for very low frequencies. [0004] There is a mistaken perception that Qm(PZT) remains at this value for frequencies up to a few MHz, and that the coefficients of single crystal materials like Lithium Niobate are simply too small to justify use of these materials in comparison to PZT and other similar polycrystalline piezoceramic materials whatever the Q values might be.

[0005] High frequency devices working at frequencies between 1 MHz to 10 GHz, are ideal for micro to nano-scale actuator devices due to the short wavelengths and, in particular, very large accelerations that can be generated at such high frequencies. Because the maximum particle velocity that can be induced in a solid material, being about 1 m/s, is roughly independent of frequency, therefore for frequencies from less than 1 kHz to greater than 10 GHz, the acceleration that can be induced increases linearly with the frequency. This acceleration is around 6 million times the acceleration of gravity when using a 10 MHz device, and greater than 600 million times the acceleration for a 1 GHz device. Such devices therefore represent one of the most powerful means of driving acceleration known, apart from particle accelerators. These accelerations can be used to propel fluid and solid objects at the micro scale in a variety of creative ways that are now appearing in applications from robotics to

biomedicine. What is needed is a means to efficiently generate such acceleration. The current state-of-the-art as described in patent and academic literature, and particularly in telecommunications do not address this need nor describe a way to do so.

[0006] Indeed, an appropriate figure of merit is needed for the piezoelectric material, a quantity that defines the potential performance of the material for a specific application. This figure of merit value has in the past been defined by the product of kt<2>and Qm. This value can be quite large for Lithium Niobate, for example, and larger than PZT for practical applications of the materials in microdevices, a fact not recognised in the currently available literature. The very large values of Q in single crystal materials compared to bulk materials therefore overwhelms the discrepancy in kt<2>values. [0007] The overwhelmingly common use of single-crystal piezoelectric material such as Lithium Niobate is in generating and using surface acoustic waves, taking advantage of the low losses, large energy density, and various other features of surface waves. Unfortunately, the use of Lithium Niobate typically requires the deposition of electrodes upon its surface using photolithography. Forming such electrodes requires cleanroom facilities and precision techniques to fabricate such structures, representing an initial cost for establishment or access to such a facilit and ongoing costs in fabricating devices.

[0008J While it is possible to generate bulk waves in single crystal piezoelectric materials with large electrodes across exposed faces of these materials, few applications make use of this ability, with virtually all bulk wave applications of piezoelectric materials instead using PZT, ZnO and other pplycrystalline materials.

[0009] Vibrations generated in piezoelectric materials with standard large electrodes are typically simple in form: i.e. thickness, radial, or shear, with no phase shift across the vibrating structure. Large electrodes have dimensions that cover a significant portion of the surface of the piezoelectric substrate they are in contact with.

[0010] Small electrodes, of dimensions of the waveiength/2 or less along the vibration propagation direction but long across the propagation direction (usuall many multiples of the wavelength), are used for generating surface or bulk acoustic waves possessing wavelengths that are small in comparison to the dimensions of the piezoelectric material the vibrations are being generated in. Furthermore, typically suc electrodes have repeated patterns (i.e., interdigital electrodes with numerous "finger pairs" for Rayieigh SAW or Lam waves or Love waves); the number of repetitions is usually chosen based on a desire to match impedances or achieve a desired bandwidth for the transducer. Such electrodes are typically required to be deposited on the surface of the piezoelectric material using photolithographic fabrication processes.

[001.1 J It would be advantageous to be able to have a piezoelectric actuation platform that avoids the need for electrodes to be deposited on the piezoelectric substrate surface using photolithography.

[0012] It would also be advantageous to be able to use at least one simple electrode, either a large electrode or small point electrode, to generate vibrations with wavelengths that are short in comparison to the dimensions of the vibrating piezoelectric materia!.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a piezoelectric actuation platform including a piezoelectric substrate formed from a single crystal piezoelectric materia!, and at least one simple electrode contactable with the piezoelectric substrate for applying an electrical signal to the substrate such that a lamb or surface acoustic wave can be generated within said substrate.

[0014] The single crystal piezoelectric material may preferably be selected from one of the following group: bu!k !ithium niobate, thin film lithium niobate, bulk lithium tantalate, thin film lithium tantalate, Gallium Nitride, Quartz, and Langasite.

[00 5] The simple electrode may be in contact with a surface of the piezoelectric substrate. Alternatively, the simple electrode may be in the form of a conducting material sputtered on a surface of the piezoelectric substrate. The conducting material may for example be a meta! such as gold.

[0016] As the simple electrode is not deposited on the piezoelectric substrate surface using photolithographic processes, it is not necessary for that surface to be polished. Therefore, the piezoelectric substrate surfac may be left unpolished further reducing production costs.

[0017] According to a preferred embodiment of the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention, the simple electrode may be a large electrode in contact with a significant portion of the piezoelectric substrate surface. The electrode may be in the form of a conductive sheet material which may be in a variety of different shapes including L-shaped, strip shaped, curved or circular shaped.

[0018] According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the simple electrode may be a point electrode in contact with a point on the surface of the piezoelectric substrate surface.

[0019] It is also preferable for the electrical signal applied to the piezoelectric substrate to be at a frequency substantially matching one or more resonant frequencies of the piezoelectric substrate. This allows the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention to operate at different frequencies for different applications.

[0020] The present invention utilizes one or more simple electrodes to apply an electrical signal to the piezoelectric substrate, and does not require electrode material to be deposited on a surface of the piezoelectric substrate utilizing photolithography. This drastically reduces the cost for fabrication of the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention.

[0021 J Furthermore, the use of simple electrodes in combination with single crystal materials achieves very large values for the figure of merit, and allows large amplitude ultrasonic waves to be formed in the piezoelectric substrate. The present invention is useful for a variety of applications, and does not require complex fabrication techniques, or the need to resort to lead-based or polycrystalline material to achieve these results. [0022] The combination of simple electrodes and single crystal piezoelectric materials provides a very attractive solution for many applications. For example, the present invention may be used in the manipulation of liquid droplets, or fluids in enclosed micro to nanofluidic devices, or in the jetting, mixing, and nebulisation of such liquids. The present invention may also be used in the manipulation of particles and cells within these liquids for a broad variety of applications in chemistry and medicine.

[0023] Furthermore, specific benefits offered by the use of single crystal piezoelectric material add to the advantages presented by the favourable figure of merit. These benefits arise due to the transparency of LN, LT, and Quartz enabling optical devices and applications, the semiconducting qualities of GaN and associated ability to generate coherent light in thai material for lasers, monolithic integrated circuits containing amplification, memory, computation, and additional sensing features for monolithic lab-on-a-substrate applications, and the absence of lead from all these materials and therefore the reduction of lead- based materials in consumer and medical technology that employ these devices, making the technology environmentally safe and compliant with stringent international rules regarding the elimination of lead from all consumer devices by 2020.

[0024] There is also the advantage in some embodiments of the absence of a coherent propagating wave, helpful for providing acoustic energy to more than one location that may be "shadowed" by another location.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0025] The present invention will now be described with reference to the accompany figures which sho preferred examples of a piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention, as well as experimental results and data obtained using the present invention. Other examples are also envisaged, and consequently, the particularity of the accompanying drawings is not to be understood as superseding the generality of the preceding description of the invention.

[0026] Figure 1 shows a pian view of one example of the very simple electrode configuration that can be used for a piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention;

[0027] Figures 2a and 2b respectively show particle patterning with a well defined structure of particles suspended within a liquid dropiet located on a surface of the piezoelectric actuation platform prior to actuation, and following the application of a very low input power;

[00283 Figures 3a and 3b respectively shows the behaviour of articles suspended within a liquid droplet located on surface of the piezoelectric actuation platform prior to actuation, and following the application of input power at a slightly higher level than in the experiment shown in Figures 2a and b;

[00293 Figures 4a to 4d shows the change in behaviour of particles suspended within a liquid droplet located on a surface of the piezoelectric actuation platform as the location of the liquid dropiet on the surface is varied, prior to the actuation in 4a and 4c and following the application of the waves in 4b and 4d;

[0030] Figures 5a to 5c shows a particle concentration mechanism where upon increasing the input power, the poloidal ring formation, shown in figure 4, becomes unstable and breaks then being followed by concentration along the ring radial line.

[0031 J Figures 6a and 6b respectively show the spinning motion and the translation of a liquid droplet located on an inclined surface of the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention;

[0032] Figures 7a and 7b respectively shows the shape of a liquid droplet located on a surface of the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention prior to actuation, and the distortion of a liquid droplet following application of an input power;

(0033] Figures 8a and 8b respectively shows a rotor shaped object placed within a liquid droplet located on a surface of the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention prior to actuation, and the rotation of the rotor shaped object following the application of an input power;

[0034] Figures 9a to 9d respectively shows the displacement of various solid objects located on a surface of the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention;

[0035] Figures 1 Da and 10b respectively shows a liquid droplet on the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention prior to actuation, and the atomisation of that liquid droplet located on a surface of the piezoelectric actuation platform following the application of an input power;

[0036] Figures 11 a to 11 c respectively show infrared images of the heat distribution within a piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention prior to actuation, during actuation, and immediately foliowing actuation: [0037] Figure 12 is a graph showing the drop sized distribution of atomized drops from a liquid dropiet located on surface of the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention; and

[0038] Figure 13 is a schematic side view of an atomiser apparatus using the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention.



DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[00393 The fabrication process for the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention preferably involves three different strategies. The first strategy uses a simple electrode configuration where a metal such as an aluminum strip is brought into physical contact with lithium niobate for actuation, when an AC current is applied. In a second strategy, for relatively more precious electrode materials, the fabrication process is conducted by masking portions of the lithium niobate surface using a predefined 'shadow' mask, using high quality tape for example, and then by sputtering the surface with a conducting material - such as gold - followed by peeling of the tape, A third strategy involves sputtering gold on the lithium niobate surface, printing a design on paper and transferring the ink/pattern onto the lithium niobate surface by heat, especially using a standard laminator, followed by etching the remaining bare gold. It is noted that in the case of Lamb waves, the electrodes can be on one side of the lithium niobate block while the working surface where, for example microfluidic actuation can occur is on the opposing side. This can be achieved because Lamb waves are a type of bulk waves. This is advantageous in the case where conductive fluids are used as this avoids short-circuiting should the fluid come in contact with the electrode metal. The surface of the piezoelectric substrate is normaily required to be polished when the electrodes need to be deposited using photolithography. According to the present invention, the surface does not need to be polished and may therefore be left unpolished. [0040] Figure 1 is a plan view of a piezoelectric actuation platform 1 according to the present invention. The piezoelectric substrate used in the experimentation was lithium niobate. The present invention is not however restricted to this material, and other single crystal piezoelectric materials could also be used. That platform 1 includes a piezoelectric substrate 3 formed from a single crystal piezoelectric material such as lithium niobate. A pair of aluminium strips 5 connected to a power supply is brought into physicai contact with the piezoelectric substrate 3. Only one example of the configuration of the electrode 7 is shown in Figure 1 , and other configurations are also possible. Therefore, the electrodes configuration may include L-shaped electrodes, one or more spot electrodes, line shaped electrodes, curved electrodes or circular electrodes. For example, a single point contact electrode reliant on a floating ground could be used. The power supply 7 can provide an ultrasonic signal that corresponds to one or more of the resonant frequency of the LiNbC1⁄2 substrate. Th significant of this is that mu!ti resonances are present for one single piezoelectric actuation platform, allowing different applications at different frequencies. We also note that the resonances are proportional to the lithium niobate thickness and could be altered by changing its thickness.

[00413 Figures 2 to12 illustrate various experimental results and data obtained on experiments conducted on piezoelectric actuation platform 1 according to the present invention. Figure 13 shows an atomizer apparatus using the described piezoelectric platform 1.

[0042] Figures 2a and b respectively show particles suspended within a liquid droplet located on the surface of the piezoelectric substrate platform. Figure 2a shows the particles distributed through the liquid droplet after power is applied to the platform. Application of a very low input power in the order of between 0.1 to 0.2 watts results in the particles aggregating together to form distinctive patterns due to the acoustic radiation. Such particle aggregation can be used for various particle trapping and isolation applications. [0043] When a slightly higher input power of between 0.2 to 0,4 watts is applied to the piezoelectric actuation platform, different behaviour is observed in the aggregation of particles suspended within a fluid droplet located on the platform surface. Depending on the location of the liquid droplet with respect to the electrode, particles can rotate within the liquid due to the poloidal flo within that droplet to form two island concentration spots as shown in Figure 3b. The increase in f luorescent intensity by concentration of the particles has potential applications in sensing, and especially with respect to bio-molecu!es.

[0044] Figures 4a to 4d shows the effect that varying the location of the liquid droplet relative to the electrode on the piezoelectric actuation platform surface can have on the behaviour of particles suspended within that liquid droplet. In the experiments, an input power of between 0.2 to 0.4 watts was applied to the platform 1. Varying the location of the liquid droplet resulted in the particles suspended within the liquid droplet aggregating in different patterns, or the particles rotating within the droplet due to the induced poloidal flow within the droplet to form a ring concentration pattern as best shown in Figures 4b and 4d.

[0045] A unique particle concentration mechanism and application is shown in Figures 5a to 5c where, strong poloidal flow leads to particle ring formation followed by ring instability and eventually particle aggregation along a radial line within the drop. Particle concentration has a wide of applications, especially with biosensing where the optical signal increases a million fold after concen trati ng particl es/b i o -molec u les .

[0046] Application of powe to the piezoelectric actuation platform can also result in displacement of the fluid droplet on the platform surface. Figures 6a and 6b respectively show a liquid droplet located on the piezoelectric actuation platform surface, which has been inclined at any angle relative to a horizontal plane. Application of a slightly higher input power greater than 0.5 watts in the experiments resulted in the vibration and spinning of the liquid droplet as shown in Figure 6a. Furthermore, the liquid droplet would also move under the influence of gravity due to the contact Sine of the drop being unpinned due to the inclination of the platform surface as shown in Figure 6b. The displacement of the liquid droplet can alternatively be achieved by breaking the spatial symmetry of the electrodes, using asymmetric electrodes shape or by creating asymmetry in the chip s edge or strategically placing the drop so that only portions of the drop is exposed to the acoustic waves. The ability to displace a liquid droplet located on the platform surface has applications in the lab-on-a-chip (LOG) field.

[0047] Applying a higher input power to the piezoelectric actuation platform can also result in distortion of the liquid droplet interface. Figures 7a and 7b respectively shows a liquid droplet prior to application of power as shown in Figure 7a, and following the application of an input power of above 0.5 watts. This results in the liquid droplet forming a conical shape which can then eventually breaks up and form a liquid jet. Such liquid behaviour could be useful for printing applications as well as in viscosity measurement applications.

[00483 The piezoelectric substrate platform according to the present invention can also be used in micro engineering applications. Figures 8a and 8b respectively show a rotor-shaped object place within the liquid droplet when stationary as shown in Figure 8a prior to actuation of the piezoelectric platform, or rotating as shown in Figure 8b following actuation. The experiment involved the application of an input power of around 0.5 watts which resulted in rotation of the liquid within the liquid droplet forcing the rotation of the rotor shaped object

[0049] The piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention could also be used to move other reSatively large objects weighing a few grams. Figures 9a and 9b show the movement of a cluster of salt grains following the application of an input power to the piezoelectric actuation platform. Figures 9c and 9d similarly show the movement of a large cluster of salt following the application of an input power to the piezoelectric actuation platform. This demonstrates the potential application of the piezoelectric actuation platform as a surface cleaner. [0050] The piezoelectric actuation piatform according to the present invention can also be used in the atomisation of liquid. Figures 10a and 10b respectively shows a liquid droplet on the piezoelectric platform surface prior to any input power being applied to the platform, and the liquid being converted to a mist in Figure 10b following application of an input power of between 0.7 to 2 watts to the piezoelectric actuation platform.

[0051 ] Figure 1 1 various infrared images of the heat distribution of the piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention prior to the input power being applied (Figure 11a) during the application of an input power (Figure 1 1 b), and immediately after the input power has been discontinued (Figure 1 1 c). These images show that the overall heat generation is significantly lower in the present invention where simple electrodes are used when compared to piezoelectric actuation platforms using inter-digital transducers where temperatures can be in the order of between 60 - 95°C. In fact, conventional IDTs have been used as a drop heater and other PGR applications which requires high temperatures. By comparison, the maximum temperature observed in the piezoelectric substrate platform according to the present invention is in the order of around 40 degrees Celsius. The lower operating temperatures can allow the platform to be used in a greater variety of applications where high temperature needs to be avoided. The piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention may for example be used in the manipulation of heat sensitive bio-material. Furthermore, lower operational temperatures can increase the reliability of that apparatus using a piezoelectric actuation platform according to the present invention.

[0052] Figure 12 shows a graph of the drop size distribution of atomised drops produced in the arrangement shown in Figure 10. As shown in the results, the atomized drops have a monodispersed distribution as well as a small size (below 5 microns) rendering them ideal for many practical applications, especially for drug delivery to the lungs [0053] Figure 13 is a schematic diagram showing an atomizer apparatus using the piezoelectric actuator platform 1 according to the present invention. One or more liquid reservoirs 9 can supply liquid to the platform surface 12. A wick formed from paper, fabric or other hydrophilic material may extend from the reservoir 9 to the platform surface 12. The wick 1 1 has an edge 13 in contact with the platform surface 12 from which liquid transferred along each wick 1 1 can be atomized. The fluid is drawn through the wick 11 as a result of the atomization of the fluid at the wick edge 13. The wick 1 1 can include channels formed by applying a pattern on areas of the wick surface 15 using a hydrophobic material such as wax or photoresist. This allows for more than one fluid to be transferred and/or mixed on the wick surface 15. Three such wicks are shown in Figure 15 to allow for more than one different liquid to be atomised at the same time from a single piezoelectric actuation platform 1.




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