Audible sound-controlled spatiotemporal patterns in out-of-equilibrium systems

Journal: Nature Chemistry

Published: 2020-08-10

DOI: 10.1038/s41557-020-0516-2

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 8

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Research Highlight

Chemical reactions dance to music

© dinn/Getty

© dinn/Getty

Sound waves have been used to generate reproducible patterns in chemical reactions that are far from equilibrium.

High-intensity ultrasound has been used to influence chemical reactions, but normal sound waves were considered to have insufficient energy to affect chemical reactions.

Now, a team led by researchers from the Institute for Basic Science in South Korea has shown that sound waves with frequencies equivalent to keys near the lower end of a piano keyboard can affect reactions between water and oxygen or carbon dioxide.

They placed a Petri dish containing water on a loudspeaker and add chemicals that change colour when water reacts with either oxygen or carbon dioxide. When low-frequency sound was played through the speaker, characteristic patterns were observed on the water surface. In contrast, when no sound was played, only random patterns were observed.

The researchers anticipate this effect could be used to control the arrangement of biomolecules in solution.

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  1. Nature Chemistry 12, 808–813 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41557-020-0516-2
Institutions Share
Division of Chemistry, IBS, South Korea 0.67
Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), South Korea 0.33