Piezoelectric Dust Levitator

Web Published:

Princeton Docket # 15-3098


Researchers at the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory have developed a novel device that uses a piezoelectric disk to levitate small particles ranging from 10 nm to 1 mm in diameter. The piezoelectric dust levitator is capable of levitating commercially available nanoparticle powders, which can be used as a source for various volumetric optical diagnostics. In addition, the piezoelectric dust levitator provides a straightforward pathway to further research on nanoparticles in air without the interference of high electric or magnetic fields.




Suspends small particles in air or vacuum using non-invasive techniques with applications towards:

•       Optical diagnostic procedures

•       Nanotechnology research




•       Levitates small dust particles in a non-invasive fashion

•       Enables the study of small dust particles suspended in air or vacuum without high electric or magnetic fields



Mitrani, J. M., & Shneider, M. N. (2015). Time-resolved laser-induced incandescence from multiwalled carbon nanotubes in air. Applied Physics Letters, 106(4), 043102.


Mitrani, J., Patel, S., Shneider, M., Stratton, B., & Raitses, Y. (2014). Laser-induced incandescence diagnostic for\ textit {in situ} monitoring of nanoparticle synthesis in an atmospheric plasma. Bulletin of the American Physical Society, 59.


Key Words

piezoelectric disk, nanoparticle levitation, non-invasive, optical diagnostics


Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) 

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is a collaborative national center for fusion energy research. The Laboratory advances the coupled fields of fusion energy and plasma physics research, and, with collaborators, is developing the scientific understanding and key innovations needed to realize fusion as an energy source for the world. An associated mission is providing the highest quality of scientific education.




James Mitrani is a Ph.D. candidate in physics at Princeton University interested in plasma physics, biophysics, material science, nanotechnology, optics, and combustion dynamics. Mitrani’s current doctoral research focuses on synthesizing graphene and carbon nanotubes in a background plasma.


Dennis Mansfield and Lane Roquemore are both scientists at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The piezoelectric dust levitator builds on a previous invention developed by Mitrani and Mansfield to further applications for optical diagnostics.


Intellectual Property Status

Patent applications are pending. Princeton is seeking industrial collaborators for further development and commercialization of this technology.



Michael Tyerech

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing

(609) 258-6762, tyerech@princeton.edu                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Anna Trugman

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Chris Wright
Licensing Associate
Princeton University
James Mitrani
Dennis Mansfield
A. Lane Roquemore