Research CommentariesSonoluminescence

That Flashing Sound

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Science  27 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5355, pp. 1322-1323
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5355.1322

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Sonoluminescence is the light emitted by a collapsing gas bubble in a strong acoustic field. Despite the large amount of observational data, no clear agreement exists on the mechanism by which this light is generated. In his research commentary, Metcalf discusses results to be published in Physical Review Letters on time-resolved spectroscopy of sonoluminescence. The findings indicate that the collapsing bubble becomes what is known as a "cold" dense plasma, which then emits light of extremely short duration.