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Name: Obiwan
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Question:
Can anyone provide general information about SONOLUMINESCENCE. I read about it recently, and wonder if any practical applications have been devised.



Replies:
Concerning practical applications, there is apparently a patent several years old for doing fusion with the same kind of stimulated bubble mechanism found in sonoluminescence - it is actually a pretty exciting field right now. The experimental system involved is some fluid (water will do, in fact) in which you can induce little bubbles, and basically speakers in the fluid to set up large amplitude standing sound waves. What happens is that the bubbles grow and shrink in sync with the sound waves, and the amplitude of that bubble oscillation is actually quite enormous - radius changes of around a factor of 100 and volume changes of a factor of 10^6 have been observed in single bubbles. And just in the last few years, people have observed light emission from these bubbles. It apparently happens just as the bubble is hitting its minimum radius - the great compression that happens causes some kind of conversion of the sound energy into extreme heating (thousands of degrees, at least) with the result being emission of visible light (they think some of them may even be emitting ultraviolet light, which gets absorbed by the water). I can give you the e-mail address of some people doing research on this if you are interested!

Arthur Smith



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