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We develop a 3-D finite element model of a focused surface acoustic wave (F-SAW) device based on LiNbO/sub 3/to analyze the wave generation and propagation characteristics for devices operating at MHz frequencies with varying applied input voltages. We compare the F-SAW device to a conventional SAW device with similar substrate dimensions and transducer finger periodicity. SAW devices with concentrically shaped focused interdigital transducer fingers (F-IDTs) are found to excite waves with high intensity and high beam-width compression ratio, confined to a small localized area. F-SAW devices are more sensitive to amplitude variations at regions close to the focal point than conventional SAW devices having uniform IDT configuration. We compute F-SAW induced streaming forces and velocity fields by applying a successive approximation technique to the Navier-Stokes equation (Nyborg's theory). The maximum streaming force obtained at the focal point varies as the square of the applied input voltage. Computed streaming velocities at the focal point in F-SAW devices are at least an order of magnitude higher than those in conventional SAW devices. Simulated frequency response indicates higher insertion losses in F-SAW devices than in conventional devices, reflecting their greater utility as actuators than as sensors. Our simulation findings suggest that F-SAW devices can be utilized effectively for actuation in microfluidic applications involving diffusion limited transport processes.