Acoustic Levitation: How Sound Makes Liquid Droplets Hover Like Magic (VIDEO)

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bill-swift - September 18, 2012

You know those magic acts where the magician says some random stuff and begins hovering a few feet above the ground? You know, their levitation act which probably involves super-strong magnets or a hidden forklift in the back?

You probably never thought that it was actually possible if you take the tricks and illusions away. But it is. Not for people, though, but for droplets that are millions of times lighter than average weight of a human being.

If you're wondering how all this is possible, the answer lies in acoustic levitation. Yeah, it sounds pretty boring, but it actually looks pretty impressive once the droplets are already hovering in the air.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory attempted to use sound waves in order to levitate droplets of solutions and they actually managed to do it. And they did it all by using sound waves! It's not all for fun and games, though, because levitating the liquids (that contain drugs--the good kind, not the bad ones) apparently has something to do with drug development.

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.

-- Chris Benmore, Argonne X-ray physicist

Does this make you want to be a physicist now? Yeah, I doubt that it would but I bet you didn't think being one could actually be this cool, right?

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