The World's First Acoustic Field Rotator, Described in Applied Physics Letters, May Help to Improve the Imaging Capabilities of Medical Ultrasound Devices
A Chinese-U.S. research team is exploring the use of metamaterials -- artificial materials engineered to have exotic properties not found in nature -- to create devices that manipulate sound in versatile and unprecedented ways.
In the journal Applied Physics Letters, the team reports a simple design for a device, called an acoustic field rotator, which can twist wave fronts inside it so that they appear to be propagating from another direction.
"Numerous research efforts have centered on metamaterial-based devices with fascinating wave-control capabilities such as invisibility or illusion cloaks," said Jian-chun Cheng, a professor at the Institute of Acoustics, in the Department of Physics at Nanjing University. "An acoustic field rotator, however, which can be [considered] a special kind of illusion cloak with the capability of making an object acoustically appear like a rotated one, doesn't exist yet."
Field rotators for electromagnetic waves and liquid waves have already been demonstrated and show promise in their respective areas, but "another important type of classical wave, an acoustic wave, is a much more familiar part of our daily lives and could find applications in a variety of situations," Cheng noted.
Cheng and colleagues designed what they believe to be the first feasible acoustic rotator model and also fabricated a prototype to validate it.
"We were surprised to discover that by using metamaterials, acoustic waves can be rotated in a manner similar to their electromagnetic or liquid wave counterparts -- so sound has finally joined the club," Cheng said.
Another surprise the team discovered was that acoustic and electromagnetic rotators can be designed based on the same principles. In this case, the researchers used anisotropic metamaterials, which possess physical properties that differ along different directions.
"It's much easier to implement highly anisotropic acoustic metamaterials than electromagnetic ones, and an acoustic rotator may provide even better performance than its [electromagnetic] counterparts," said Cheng.
The team hopes their acoustic rotator, with its ability to freely manipulate acoustic wavefronts, will improve the operation of devices like medical ultrasound machines, which require the precise control of acoustic waves. The ability to rotate the sound waves could improve the contrast of ultrasound devices and allow them to image damaged tissue or diagnose diseases in ways they currently cannot. This is significant because ultrasound devices may be cheaper than other imaging modalities and do not use X-rays.
What's ahead for the team now that they've shown the possibility of building an acoustic rotator by exploiting acoustic metamaterials? "We've fabricated the simplest proof-of-concept device, which at this point can't serve as a mature and practical device, so it's worth further improvement and optimization," said Cheng.
In the future, acoustic rotators could "serve as useful building blocks for constructing more complex structures with richer acoustic manipulation functionalities, if properly combined with other kinds of components," he added.
The article, "Broadband field rotator based on acoustic metamaterials" by Xue Jiang, Bin Liang, Xin-ye Zou, Lei-lei Yin, and Jian-chun Cheng appears in the journal Applied Physics Letters (DOI: 10.1063/1.4866333). The article will be published online on February 25, 2014. After that date, it can be accessed at: http://tinyurl.com/pv78pok
The authors of this paper are affiliated with Nanjing University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
ABOUT THE JOURNAL
Applied Physics Letters features concise, rapid reports on significant new findings in applied physics. The journal covers new experimental and theoretical research on applications of physics phenomena related to all branches of science, engineering, and modern technology. See: http://apl.aip.org
Jason Socrates Bardi | newswise
Absorbing acoustics with soundless spirals
10.02.2016 | American Institute of Physics
Hot Science of the Cold Universe
10.02.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.
Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes...
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
10.02.2016 | Life Sciences
10.02.2016 | Earth Sciences
10.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy