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Sound Bullets for Liquids Demonstrated

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 07:07AM

Sound waves require a medium, but are not particular about the kind of medium. Typically we associate the pressure waves with air, as that is how we hear, but sound also travels through liquids and solids. In 2010 researchers at Caltech demonstrated a concentrated pulse of sound, a sound bullet, in a solid, but now they are back with a sound bullet in a liquid. Water specifically.

The lens the researchers developed for creating the sound bullets is similar to a Newton's cradle, which suspends identical metal balls in a line. When a ball at the end strikes the others, the ball at the other end is launched away. For the lens, striking one end creates compact nonlinear pulses of sound that travel as sound typical does until reaching the lens' focal point, where the separate waves coalesce into a single amplified signal. This amplified signal is the sound bullet and has a great deal of potential in multiple fields.

Sound waves are already common in biomedicine for sensors but a sound bullet could be used to target and destroy tumors, without damaging surrounding material. Also sound bullets could be used to find damage to ships, bridges, and other objects in the water.

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Guest comment
Anon on November 28, 2012 05:08AM
What does non-linear mean in this context?
Guest_Jim_* on November 28, 2012 07:18AM
Likely that what goes in does not come out the same. For example, got light a nonlinear actually shifts the frequency of the light. Such materials are used in some blue and green lasers.

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