Selecting active matter according to motility in an acoustofluidic setup: self-propelled particles and sperm cells

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Vyacheslav R. Misko - , Vrije Universiteit Brussel, RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research (Author)
  • Larysa Baraban - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • Denys Makarov - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • Tao Huang - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • Pierre Gelin - , Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Author)
  • Ileana Mateizel - , Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Author)
  • Koen Wouters - , Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Author)
  • Neelke De Munck - , Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Author)
  • Franco Nori - , RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research, RIKEN, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Author)
  • Wim De Malsche - , Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Author)


Active systems - including sperm cells, living organisms like bacteria, fish, birds, or active soft matter systems like synthetic “microswimmers” - are characterized by motility, i.e., the ability to propel using their own “engine”. Motility is the key feature that distinguishes active systems from passive or externally driven systems. In a large ensemble, motility of individual species can vary in a wide range. Selecting active species according to their motility represents an exciting and challenging problem. We propose a new method for selecting active species based on their motility using an acoustofluidic setup where highly motile species escape from the acoustic trap. This is demonstrated in simulations and in experiments with self-propelled Janus particles and human sperm. The immediate application of this method is selecting highly motile sperm for medically assisted reproduction (MAR). Due to the tunable acoustic trap, the proposed method is more flexible than the existing passive microfluidic methods. The proposed selection method based on motility can also be applied to other active systems that require selecting highly motile species or removing immotile species.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8635-8648
Number of pages14
JournalSoft matter
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

External IDs

PubMed 37917007