Scientists make liquid levitate in mid-air using sound waves via acoustic levitator (Video)

By on Sep 17, 2012 in Science, United States Comments

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago, the first science and engineering research national laboratory in the US, recently unveiled how they were able to make liquid levitate using sound waves via “acoustic levitator”, as shown in the video below.

liquid levitatation

Liquid levitate in mid-air
Image Credit: Argonne National Laboratory video

According to a report by Argonne National Laboratory on its official website on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, the process of levitating liquid solution droplets in mid-air, which scientists are using for their research to create more effective pharmaceutical drugs with fewer side effects.

As noted in the report, the “acoustic levitator” uses two small precisely aligned speakers to generate sound waves at around 22 KHz, or frequencies slightly above the audible range; thus creating a standing wave that allows light objects to float when placed into the gap.

“One of the biggest challenges when it comes to drug development is in reducing the amount of the drug needed to attain the therapeutic benefit, whatever it is.” Argonne X-ray physicist Chris Benmore, who led the study, was quoted at, with the liquid levitating equipment being originally designed for NASA.

“It’s almost as if these substances want to find a way to become crystalline.” Benmore added, noting that getting pharmaceuticals from solution into an amorphous state is not that easy, since it is very likely to solidify in its crystalline form evaporates while it is in contact with the container.

“Most drugs on the market are crystalline – they don’t get fully absorbed by the body and thus we aren’t getting the most efficient use out of them.” Argonne‘s Intellectual Property Development and Commercialization Senior Manager Yash Vaishnav said.

“Although only small quantities of a drug can currently be “amorphized” using this technique, it remains a powerful analytical tool for understanding the conditions that make for the best amorphous preparation.” Vaishnav added, noting that liquid levitation makes a drug easier to analyze without touching anything.

Liquid levitation using sound waves
Video Credit: ArgonneNationalLab/YouTube

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