PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sonoluminescence research. Laser light shines onto a bulb used for studying sonoluminescence, the production of light from bubbles in water when exposed to high-frequency sound (ultrasound). The tiny bubbles are trapped at the centre of the bulb by ultrasound that makes them expand and contract. As the bubbles collapse on themselves at speeds of more than 4 times the speed of sound in air, a shock wave is created within them which concent- rates enough energy to create a pulse of light that lasts for 50 microseconds. The laser is used to measure the size of the bubbles using flashes of light which are 2 nanoseconds long. Photograph- ed at the Meurice Institute in Brussels, Belgium.
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