A millimetre-sized water droplet sitting on a vibrating crystal surface can be forced to form a narrow column more than a centimetre long.
Leslie Yeo and his colleagues at Monash University in Clayton, Australia, created controllable, nozzle-free liquid jets by focusing energy into the water from surface acoustic waves (SAWs): earthquake-like vibrations generated electrically in the underlying crystal.
SAW devices are powerful — a wave 10 nanometres in amplitude can generate surface accelerations 10 million times that of gravity — and inexpensive, already inhabiting most mobile phones. Researchers hope to use them to manipulate fluids at the microscale. They can make liquid drops wobble, slide sideways and break up into a fine mist.
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Physics: Jet stream. Nature 460, 439 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/460439c