The SAW generator has been designed as a universal frequency controller for operation, characterization as well as monitoring of SAW actuators for R & D projects in acoustofluidic applications.

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description of the solution


Various SAW actuators and acoustic resonators have to be driven with a high-frequency alternating voltage of adjustable frequency and amplitude. The resonators must be characterized first to determine the optimum excitation frequency. During operation a continuous monitoring is necessary so that a manual or automated adjusting is possible

Furthermore, there should be the possibility to trigger a high speed camery at certain moment during experiments.

The task is particularly challenging, since for these purposes complex setups from several cost-intensive measuring and control devices have been necessary so far. Their operation is also very complex and requires extensive knowledge in high-frequency technology.

With the solution to be developed, the customer therefore has three objectives: Complexity reduction, time savings and cost savings.


An integrated control device was developed, which implements the required functionality for acoustofluidic experiments of network analyzer, frequency generator, Power amplification and measurement in a single device.

A number of automated scanning functions have been implemented for the characterization of the connected SAW actuators and for the tracking of the excitation frequency. Trigger connections can control external devices.

key features

    • Versatile for R & D tasks with SAW actuators
    • Characterization of the connected components
    • Automatic determination and tracking of the optimum excitation frequency
    • Large dynamics range with regard to power and frequency
    • Two-channel version for generating standing wave fields
    • Generation of SAW pulses possible
    • PC software for convenient operation and monitoring
    • Generation and reception of trigger signals (eg for cameras)

details of the solution

The SAW-Actuator is initially electrically characterized with a network analyzer to determine the optimum excitation frequency. This requires extensive knowledge of RF electronics (S-parameters). The SAW device must then be connected to the signal generator

State-of-the-art: A signal generator and a power amplifier control the operation of the component with the frequencies identified prior with by network analyzer. A power meter is required for monitoring additionally. For remote control, several devices must be connected to the PC.

All functions of the integrated scalar network analyzer, the signal generator, the power amplifier and the power meter are controlled in a convinient way via the operating software BSG Soft. The connected SAW actuators can be operated using automatic or manual operation modes from the PC.

After automatic or manual determination of the optimal excitation frequency the SAW actuator is operated by setting the desired output power. The excitation frequency is regularly re-determined and tracked. A drift of the actuator by heating, aging or loading is thus compensated.

Standing waves are required for the manipulation of particles or cells in microfluidic vessels (acoustic Tweezers). The SAW Generator F20 offers a second signal output with separately adjustable power and phase position. Additional functions for complex experimentation tasks are available.

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