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False color image of sonoluminescence gas bubbles
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False color image of sonoluminescence: gas bubbles

June 10, 2010
False color image of sonoluminescence: gas bubbles excited by ultrasound waves emit flashes of light due to extreme temperatures inside the bubbles. [Image 4 of 4 related images. See Image 1.]

More about this Image When a gas bubble in a liquid is excited by ultrasonic acoustic waves, it can emit short flashes of light, suggesting extreme temperatures inside the bubble. These flashes of light are known as "sonoluminescence" and occur as the bubble implodes, or cavitates.

Now chemists supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) have for the first time, measured the chemical reactions and light emission from a single water bubble excited by sound waves. These findings by researchers Ken Suslick and Yuri Didenko of the University of Illinois, were reported in the July 25, 2002 issue of Nature. For further information about this research, see NSF Press Release 02-63.