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The sound of particles.

The sounds of particles

When a particule absorbs laser light, it heats up. That heating causes the particle to expand, which in turn generates a sound wave or pulse in the surrounding liquid or gas. According to Gerald J. Diebold of Brown University in Providence, R.I., that signal, if detected, may be distinctive enough to provide useful information about the particle's geometry and acoustic properties. Diebold's theoretical calculations show that objects such as spheres, slabs and cylinders have characteristic acoustic signatures that depend on the source's shape and how the object interacts acoustically with the surrounding fluid. "I believe that in the long run, it may be possible to go backwards from the photoacoustic waveforms to determine some of the properties of unknown particles," Diebold says. Initial, "primitive" experimental tets, using a laser to heat droplets of xylene in water, show the idea is worth pursuing.
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Title Annotation:use of photoacoustics to to determine properties of particles
Author:Peterson, Ivars
Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 1, 1989
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