Brightest bubble bursting yet

Physicists in the US claim to have broken the record for the brightness of light generated by “sonoluminescence”, the imploding of a bubble when it is blasted with sound waves. With a peak power of 100 W, the light is 100 times as bright as seen in previous sonoluminescence experiments, and may help scientists understand how the strange phenomenon works.

Sonoluminesence was discovered in the first half of the 20th century but it was only in the 1990s that physicists began to investigate the phenomenon seriously. Although no-one is sure how it works, the basic idea is that sound waves are fed into a vessel containing one or more bubbles inside a liquid. The sound causes the bubbles to expand momentarily before water pressure takes over, imploding the bubbles in bursts of heat and light.

In many sonoluminescence experiments, the power of the generated light flash is just a few milliwatts. However, in 2004 Alan Walton and other physicists at the University of Cambridge subjected bubbles in a liquid column to vertical vibrations and produced flashes of light that peaked at 1 W. But now, a group led by Seth Putterman at the University of California, Los Angeles, has devised a new variation on the method to break that record and generate light that is 100 times as bright.

Learn more here Brightest bubble bursting yet – physicsworld.com.

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