Document Type



Surface acoustic waves (SAWs) are the guided waves that propagate along the top surface of a material with wave vectors orthogonal to the normal direction to the surface. Based on these waves, SAW sensors are conceptualized by employing piezoelectric crystals where the guided elastodynamic waves are generated through an electromechanical coupling. Electromechanical coupling in both active and passive modes is achieved by integrating interdigitated electrode transducers (IDT) with the piezoelectric crystals. Innovative meta-designs of the periodic IDTs define the functionality and application of SAW sensors. This review article presents the physics of guided surface acoustic waves and the piezoelectric materials used for designing SAW sensors. Then, how the piezoelectric materials and cuts could alter the functionality of the sensors is explained. The article summarizes a few key configurations of the electrodes and respective guidelines for generating different guided wave patterns such that new applications can be foreseen. Finally, the article explores the applications of SAW sensors and their progress in the fields of biomedical, microfluidics, chemical, and mechano-biological applications along with their crucial roles and potential plans for improvements in the long-term future in the field of science and technology.

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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

APA Citation

Mandal, D., & Banerjee, S. (2022). Surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors: Physics, materials, and applications. Sensors, 22(3), 820.