The purpose of this paper is to document the process required to design and prototype a two-axis acoustic levitator and to show that the two-axis levitator improves the stability of a particle in an acoustic levitation field. The levitator design consists of the following subsystems: the transducer assemblies, which are responsible for generating the acoustic pressure field needed for levitation; the electrical system, which is responsible for providing the transducer assemblies with adequate power to maintain levitation; and the frame structure, which is responsible for locating and rigidly supporting the transducer assemblies.
The two-axis levitator is designed to have four transducers that operate at 27.2 kHz, and simulated results show that the system satisfies nearly all the design criteria and objectives. A transducer test stand and prototype were constructed to verify the design. The test stand was used to characterize all four transducers, and once the assembly was constructed the prototype operating frequency was determined to be 27.5 kHz. The prototype was used to successfully levitate Styrofoam pellets, a plastic pellet, and water droplets of various sizes. The displacement of a water droplet of approximately 1 mm in diameter was measured when levitated with both one-axis (vertical) and two-axis (vertical and horizontal) levitation. Using one-axis levitation, the water droplet displaced a maximum of 1.1 mm in the horizontal direction and 0.17 mm in the vertical direction. Using two-axis levitation, the horizontal displacement was 0.07 mm and the vertical displacement was 0.05 mm. Therefore, the two-axis acoustic levitator provides significant improvements in levitated particle stability.