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Proceedings Paper

Sonoluminescence And Its Application To Medical Ultrasound Risk Assessment
Author(s): Lawrence A. Crum; D. Felipe Gaitan
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Paper Abstract

Ultrasound is used extensively in medical applications for diagnosis, therapy and even surgery. For these applications, the acoustic pressure may be delivered in short pulses at low duty cycles, in long pulses at high duty cycles, in continuous waves, or in the form of high intensity shock waves. The acoustic frequencies vary from about 20 kHz to higher than 10 MHz. If the acoustic pressure amplitude exceeds about 1 MPa, even for microsecond length pulses, then acoustic cavitation can occur in aqueous liquids. The inception of acoustic cavitation has traditionally been detected by measuring acoustic emissions from the cavitation field, such as a shock wave or a subharmonic. However, for short pulses and for high frequencies the acoustic emissions are difficult to detect. In most instances of cavitation bubble collapse, light is also emitted from the cavitation complex via a process called sonoluminescence, in which the internal temperature of the gas is elevated to incandescent levels. One of the classic papers in this area is one coauthored by George Reynolds 1, the subject of this memorial session. This paper extends his pioneering work, describes the phenomenon of sonoluminescence, introduces some new information intending to clarify its physics, and demonstrates how it can be used to assess possible risks associated with the use of medical ultrasound.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 December 1989
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 1161, New Methods in Microscopy and Low Light Imaging, (22 December 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.962694
Show Author Affiliations
Lawrence A. Crum, University of Mississippi (United States)
D. Felipe Gaitan, University of Mississippi (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1161:
New Methods in Microscopy and Low Light Imaging
John E. Wampler, Editor(s)

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