Scientists Create Design for an Acoustic Field Rotator

Posted on February 27, 2014

3D schematic of an Acoustic field rotator

Scientists have created a design for an acoustic field rotator, which can twist sound waves. The researchers say the device made with metamaterials would be able to twist wavefronts so they appear to propagating from another direction. A 3-D schematic of an acoustic field rotator is pictured above. Field rotators for electromagnetic waves and liquid waves have already been demonstrate and the scientists say acoustic waves can be rotated in a similar manner.

Jian-chun Cheng, a professor at the Institute of Acoustics, in the Department of Physics at Nanjing University, says in a release, "Numerous research efforts have centered on metamaterial-based devices with fascinating wave-control capabilities such as invisibility or illusion cloaks. An acoustic field rotator, however, which can be [considered] a special kind of illusion cloak with the capability of making an object acoustically appear like a rotated one, doesn't exist yet."

The research team hopes their acoustic rotator will improve the operation of devices like medical ultrasound machines, which require the precise control of acoustic waves. The researchers say ability to rotate the sound waves could improve the contrast of ultrasound devices and allow them to image damaged tissue or diagnose diseases in new ways.

The research was published here in the journal, Applied Physics Letters.

Image: J.Cheng/Nanjing University