This is an excerpt of what I think was my very first website on the old geocity, setup in 1998, but – most importantly – this is the story of four students that had fun with an amazing phenomenon, sonoluminescence.
We were four students: Alessandro Esposito, Luca Pellegrino, Claudio Demelia and Alessandro Torrielli. We designed, built and characterized an acoustic resonator to perform experiments on sonoluminescence. That was a great experience and, I believe, it was a wonderful experiment for 4 undergraduate students. That was our first “real” experiment. I believe that all of us may agree on the fact that was an incredible experience.
After months of construction and tests, we disassembled all the system from the electronic lab to the optics one. Ready to go. Dark room, hands on the power and frequency controllers. After a while, we jumped on our chairs. Yes, it was the first spark! The excitement lasted a few seconds just to become pure astonishment. By tuning the frequency of the acoustic field, we got a wonderful standing wave. The resonator simply shone. Thousands of air bubbles positioned themselves onto a periodic lattice generating a dim and diffuse blue light that for us was brighter than a thousands suns.
I will always remember the excitement and the many people that visited from the Department of Physics and elsewhere just to see this extraordinary phenomenon.
What is sonoluminescence?
To cite wikipedia for once, “Sonoluminescence is the emission of short bursts of light from implodingbubbles in a liquid when excited by sound”. For some time, this was considered a possible mechanism of cold fusion and sonoluminescence was also a subject of a movie “Chain Reaction” with Keanu Reeves andMorgan Freeman. Science can be entertaining, in the lab and at the cinema.
The first images (1997)
We shot some photographs using a 3200ASA film and long exposure (15-30min). Unfortunately, this first run of photographs shots in 1997 suffered from a few issues and we had to shoot new images later in 1998 after further insulating any possible source of stray light. Here some examples.