Particle manipulation and patterning have gained tremendous attention in chemical, biomedical, and manufacturing studies. Hydrogels are usually used for applications in soft robots, biosensing, as well as tissue engineering. In this study, we investigated a nanoparticle manipulation method based on standing surface acoustic waves (SAWs). The SAW device consists of a piezoelectric lithium niobate (LiNbO3) substrate with a pair of interdigital transducers (IDTs). Finite element simulations were performed to understand the mechanisms of the SAW device as well as reveal the acoustic pressure field and electric potential field generated by the device. In addition to numerical studies, proof-of-concept experiments were performed by using a fabricated SAW device for patterning both silicon dioxide (SiO2) nanoparticles and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) in a hydrogel solution.

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