A team of mechanical engineers at the University of California San Diego has successfully used acoustic waves to move fluids through small channels at the nanoscale. The breakthrough is a first step toward the manufacturing of small, portable devices that could be used for drug discovery and microrobotics applications. The devices could be integrated in a lab on a chip to sort cells, move liquids, manipulate particles, and sense other biological components. It could be used to filter a wide range of particles, like bacteria, to conduct rapid diagnosis. This is the first time that surface acoustic waves have been used at the nanoscale.