Acoustic tweezers for high-throughput single-cell analysis

Shujie Yang, Joseph Rufo, Ruoyu Zhong, Joseph Rich, Zeyu Wang, Luke P. Lee, Tony Jun Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Acoustic tweezers provide an effective means for manipulating single cells and particles in a high-throughput, precise, selective and contact-free manner. The adoption of acoustic tweezers in next-generation cellular assays may advance our understanding of biological systems. Here we present a comprehensive set of instructions that guide users through device fabrication, instrumentation setup and data acquisition to study single cells with an experimental throughput that surpasses traditional methods, such as atomic force microscopy and micropipette aspiration, by several orders of magnitude. With acoustic tweezers, users can conduct versatile experiments that require the trapping, patterning, pairing and separation of single cells in a myriad of applications ranging across the biological and biomedical sciences. This procedure is widely generalizable and adaptable for investigations in materials and physical sciences, such as the spinning motion of colloids or the development of acoustic-based quantum simulations. Overall, the device fabrication requires ~12 h, the experimental setup of the acoustic tweezers requires 1–2 h and the cell manipulation experiment requires ~30 min to complete. Our protocol is suitable for use by interdisciplinary researchers in biology, medicine, engineering and physics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2441-2458
Number of pages18
JournalNature Protocols
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

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