Ultrasonically driven gas bubbles in liquids can emit intense bursts of light when they collapse1. The physical mechanism for single-bubble sonoluminescence has been much debated2,3. The conditions required for, and generated by, bubble collapse can be deduced within the framework of a hydrodynamic (Rayleigh–Plesset4) analysis of bubble dynamics and stability5,6, and by considering the dissociation and outward diffusion of gases under the extreme conditions induced by collapse7,8. We show here that by extending this hydrodynamic/chemical picture in a simple way, the light emission can be explained too. The additional elements that we add are a model for the volume dependence of the bubble's temperature9,10 and allowance for the small emissivity of a weakly ionized gas11. Despite its simplicity, our approach can account quantitatively for the observed parameter dependences of the light intensity and pulse width, as well as for the spectral shape and wavelength independence of the pulses12,13,14,15.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Gaitan, D. F. An Experimental Investigation of Acoustic Cavitation in Gaseous Liquids. Thesis , Univ. Mississippi(1990).
Crum, L. A. Sonoluminescence. Phys. Today 47, 22– 29 (1994).
Barber, B. P., Hiller, R. A., Löfstedt, R., Putterman, S. J. & Weninger, K. R. Defining the unknowns of sonoluminescence. Phys. Rep. 281, 65–143 (1997).
Brennen, C. E. Cavitation and Bubble Dynamics (Oxford Univ. Press, ( 1995).
Brenner, M. P., Lohse, D. & Dupont, T. Bubble shape oscillations and the onset of sonoluminescence. Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 954– 957 (1995).
Hilgenfeldt, S., Lohse, D. & Brenner, M. P. Phase diagrams for sonoluminescing bubbles. Phys. Fluids 8, 2808–2825 (1996).
Lohse, D., Brenner, M. P., Dupont, T., Hilgenfeldt, S. & Johnston, B. Sonoluminescing air bubbles rectify argon. Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 1359– 1362 (1997).
Lohse, D. & Hilgenfeldt, S. Inert gas accumulation in sonoluminescing bubbles. J. Chem. Phys. 107, 6986– 6997 (1997).
Prosperetti, A. Thermal effects and damping mechanisms in the forced radial oscillations of gas bubbles in liquids. J. Acoust. Soc. Am 61, 17–27 (1977).
Prosperetti, A. The thermal behaviour of oscillating gas bubbles. J. Fluid Mech. 222, 587–616 ( 1991).
Moss, W., Clarke, D. & Young, D. Calculated pulse widths and spectra of a single sonoluminescing bubble. Science 276, 1398– 1401 (1997).
Gompf, B., Günther, R., Nick, G., Pecha, R. & Eisenmenger, W. Resolving sonoluminescence pulse width with time-correlated single photon counting. Phys. Rev. Lett. 79, 1405–1408 ( 1997).
Pecha, R., Gompf, B., Nick, G., Wang, Z. Q. & Eisenmenger, W. Resolving the sonoluminescence pulse shape with a streak camera. Phys. Rev. Lett. 81, 717– 720 (1998).
Moran, M. J. & Sweider, D. Measurements of sonoluminescence temporal pulse shape. Phys. Rev. Lett. 80, 4987–4990 (1998).
Hiller, R. A., Putterman, S. J. & Weninger, K. R. Time-resolved spectra of sonoluminescence. Phys. Rev. Lett. 80, 1090–1093 (1998).
Vuong, V. Q. & Szeri, A. J. Sonoluminescence and diffusive transport. Phys. Fluids 8, 2354–2364 (1996).
Yuan, L., Cheng, H. Y., Chu, M. C. & Leung, P. T. Physical parameters affecting sonoluminescence: A self-consistent hydrodynamic study. Phys. Rev. E 77, 4265–4280 (1998).
Flint, E. B. & Suslick, K. S. The temperature of cavitation. Nature 253, 1397–1399 (1991).
Matula, T. J. & Crum, L. A. Evidence for gas exchange in single-bubble sonoluminescence. Phys. Rev. Lett. 80, 865 –868 (1998).
Ketterling, J. A. & Apfel, R. E. Experimental validation of the dissociation hypothesis for single bubble sonoluminescence. Phys. Rev. Lett. 81, 4991–4994 ( 1998).
Zel'dovich, Y. B. & Raizer, Y. P. Physics of Shock Waves and High-Temperature Hydrodynamic Phenomena Vols I & II(Academic, New York, (1966).
Fyrillas, M. M. & Szeri, A. J. Dissolution or growth of soluble spherical oscillating bubbles. J. Fluid Mech. 277, 381–407 (1994).
Holt, G. & Gaitan, F. Observation of stability boundaries in the parameter space of single bubble sonoluminescence. Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 3791–3794 (1996).
Prosperetti, A. & Hao, Y. Modeling of spherical gas bubble oscillations and sonoluminescence. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 357 , 203–224 (1999).
We thank S. Koehler, W. Moss and H. Stone for discussions. Support by the DFG and partial support by the NSF is acknowledged.
About this article
Cite this article
Hilgenfeldt, S., Grossmann, S. & Lohse, D. A simple explanation of light emission in sonoluminescence. Nature 398, 402–405 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1038/18842
This article is cited by
A novel, facile, and efficient two-step hydrothermal route for WS2 nanosheets and its optimistic exposure as competent industrial-level sonocatalyst
Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics (2021)
Nature Physics (2010)
Science in China Series G: Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy (2009)
Nature Physics (2006)