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Scientists 'bottle up' sound waves

Posted on Aug 05 2014 | IANS

New Delhi Aug 5 : Researchers have found a way to bend and modify sound waves along fixed paths.

The technique uses an acoustic 'bottle' -- a three-dimensional structure made up of high pressure acoustic waves -- to control the sound.

"Our technique offers a new degree of freedom for controlling the flow of acoustic energy at will," explained Peng Zhang, lead researcher from US Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

The discovery will help in developing super high-resolution imaging, acoustic cloaking and other exotic applications.

"Our acoustic bottle beams open new avenues to applications in which there is a need to access hard-to-reach objects hidden behind obstacles, such as acoustic imaging and therapeutic ultrasound through homogeneous media," co-author Tongcang Li added.

The industry can use an acoustic bottle as a cloaking device, re-routing sound waves around an object and then recovering them in their original form, making the object invisible to sonar detection.

According to researchers, acoustic bottle beams can also help in acoustic levitation, where sound waves are used to lift and manipulate objects like particles, micro-organisms and droplets of water.

The paper was published in the journal Nature Communications.

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