Modeling and closed loop control of near-field acoustically levitated objects

Dotan Ilssar, Izhak Bucher, Henryk Flashner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present paper introduces a novel approach for modeling the governing, slow dynamics of near-field acoustically levitated objects. This model is sufficiently simple and concise to enable designing a closed-loop controller, capable of accurate vertical positioning of a carried object. The near-field acoustic levitation phenomenon exploits the compressibility, the nonlinearity and the viscosity of the gas trapped between a rapidly oscillating surface and a freely suspended planar object, to elevate its time averaged pressure above the ambient pressure. By these means, the vertical position of loads weighing up to several kilograms can be varied between dozens and hundreds of micrometers. The simplified model developed in this paper is a second order ordinary differential equation where the height-dependent stiffness and damping terms of the gas layer are derived explicitly. This simplified model replaces a traditional model consisting of the equation of motion of the levitated object, coupled to a nonlinear partial differential equation, accounting for the behavior of the entrapped gas. Due to the relatively simple form of the model developed here, it constitutes a convenient foundation for model based control algorithms, governing the slow dynamics of near-field acoustically levitated objects. Indeed, based on the former, a height dependent, gain scheduled PID controller is developed and verified numerically and experimentally, both providing satisfying results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-381
Number of pages15
JournalMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2017


  • Gain-scheduled control
  • Near-field acoustic levitation
  • Semi-analytical model
  • Squeeze film

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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