Acoustic cavitation and its chemical consequences

Kenneth S. Suslick, Yuri Didenko, Ming M. Fang, Taeghwan Hyeon, Kenneth J. Kolbeck, William B. McNamara, Millan M. Mdleleni, Mike Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

613 Scopus citations


Acoustic cavitation is responsible for both sonochemistry and sonoluminescence. Bubble collapse in liquids results in an enormous concentration of energy from the conversion of the kinetic energy of liquid motion into heating of the contents of the bubble. The high local temperatures and pressures, combined with extraordinarily rapid cooling, provide a unique means for driving chemical reactions under extreme conditions. A diverse set of applications of ultrasound to enhance chemical reactivity has been explored, with important applications in mixed-phase synthesis, materials chemistry, and biomedical uses. For example, the sonochemical decomposition of volatile organometallic precursors in low-volatility solvents produces nanostructured materials in various forms with high catalytic activities. Nanostructured metals, alloys, carbides and sulphides, nanometre colloids, and nanostructured supported catalysts can all be prepared by this general route. Another important application of sonochemistry to materials chemistry has been the preparation of biomaterials, most notably protein microspheres. Such microspheres have a wide range of biomedical applications, including their use as echo contrast agents for sonography, magnetic resonance imaging contrast enhancement, and oxygen or drug delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-353
Number of pages19
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1751
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Materials
  • Microspheres
  • Nanostructures
  • Sonochemistry
  • Sonoluminescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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