Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Pop Goes the Plasma: Extreme Conditions Inside Imploding Bubbles

High-intensity ultrasound waves traveling through liquid leave bubbles in their wake. Under the right conditions, these bubbles implode spectacularly, emitting light and reaching very high temperatures, a phenomenon called sonoluminescence. Researchers have observed imploding bubble conditions so hot that the gas inside the bubbles ionizes into plasma, but quantifying the temperature and pressure properties has been elusive.

In a paper published in the June 27 issue of Nature Physics, University of lllinois chemistry professor Kenneth S. Suslick and former student David Flannigan, now at the California Institute of Technology, experimentally determine the plasma electron density, temperature and extent of ionization.

Suslick and Flannigan first observed super-bright sonoluminescence in 2005 by sending ultrasound waves through sulfuric acid solutions to create bubbles.

“The energies of the populated atomic levels suggested a plasma, but at that time there was no estimate of the density of the plasma, a crucial parameter to understanding the conditions created at the core of the collapsing bubble,” said Suslick, the Marvin T. Schmidt Professor of Chemistry and a professor of materials science and engineering.

The new report uses the same setup, but now with a detailed analysis of the shape of the observed spectrum, which provides information on the conditions of the region around the atoms inside the bubble as it collapses.

“The temperature can be several times that of the surface of the sun and the pressure greater than that at the bottom of the deepest ocean trench,” Suslick said.

“What’s more, we were able to determine how these properties are affected by the ferocity with which the bubble collapses, and we found that the plasma conditions generated may indeed be extreme.”

The duo observed temperatures greater than 16,000 kelvins – three times the temperature on the surface of the sun. They also measured electron densities during bubble collapse similar to those generated by laser fusion experiments. However, Suslick emphasized that his group has not observed evidence that fusion takes place during sonoluminescence, as some have theorized possible.

In addition, the researchers found that plasma properties show a strong dependence on the violence of bubble implosion, and that the degree of ionization, or how much of the gas is converted to plasma, increases as the acoustic pressure increases.

“It is evident from these results that the upper bounds of the conditions generated during bubble implosion have yet to be established,” Suslick said. “The observable physical conditions suggest the limits of energy focusing during the bubble-forming and imploding process may approach conditions achievable only by much more expensive means.”

Suslick also is affiliated with the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois.

The National Science Foundation supported this work.

Liz Ahlberg | University of Illinois
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>