Using bubbles to transform medicine, develop ultrasonic cleaning and learn more about whales and dolphins
Pioneering research into bubble acoustics is developing exciting applications in several fields. Professor Tim Leighton and colleagues in the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) are discovering new ways of understanding the oceans, delivering drugs and medical procedures and even making cleaning systems work more efficiently.
ISVR at the University of Southampton has worked on innovative research problems for 50 years. While its successful research continues into how sound and vibration affects human beings, transport and industry, sound in engineering is usually seen in terms of a noise nuisance, or for enhancing speech and entertainment. Professor Leighton’s innovative work instead treats ‘noise’ as a source of information about the natural world (such as the oceans), and ‘sound’ as a way to change the world by inducing chemical reactions, or changing human tissue.
The question ‘Why do brooks babble?’ inspired Professor Leighton's research into the acoustics of gas bubbles in liquids, bringing medical, military, industrial and environmental breakthroughs with global reach, including:
The research was integral to shows by TV David Attenborough & Richard Hammond; to fashion and world-first planetarium shows; and featured in the Dutch national quiz, radio & public blogs.
Many of the world’s problems need new solutions. Examining how bubbles work and exploiting their characteristics is a pioneering area of research that could transform healthcare and science. Professor Leighton’s team works with university, NHS and industrial collaborators to turn the theories of bubble acoustics into practice. His initial academic publication predicting its impact has been described as 'the most comprehensive and accessible text on acoustic cavitation available' and has attracted 2,000 citations so far.
Bubbles have the potential to bring immense benefits to humankind. Research by Professor Leighton shows how they can be applied in exciting developments in medicine through improved ultrasonic diagnostic and treatment tools that are already in use in the NHS. By adding bubbles and sound to water, his StarStream technology makes cleaning systems more efficient and reduces the amount of water needed. There are countless applications of bubble technology in science and engineering ranging from discovering unexploded mines in bubbly seawater to tracking underground or undersea gas leaks. He is in demand by journalists and broadcasters keen to understand more about the impact of bubble acoustics.
Do dolphins think nonlinearly?
The sounds of voices and waterfalls on other planets
Invention outperforms clinicians monitoring kidney treatment in patients
StarStream - Cleaning with low volumes of cold water
Detecting leaks from undersea gas pipelines, seabed methane reserves, and carbon capture and storage facilities
Whales hunt with wall of sound
Bubble detectors invented for the USA's Oak Ridge National Laboratory $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source
Dolphin-inspired radar for finding bombs, bugs and catastrophe victims
As part of the acoustic bubble public engagement Tim Leighton has appeared in numerous videos and television shows. A selection of these are available to watch on YouTube.
As part of the acoustic bubble public engagement Tim Leighton has appeared on numerous radio shows. A selection of these are available to download as mp3 files.
|Bubble detectors invented for the USA's Oak Ridge National Laboratory $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source||Active||Other|
|Detecting leaks from undersea gas pipelines, seabed methane reserves, and carbon capture and storage facilities||Active||Other|
|Do dolphins think nonlinearly?||Active||Other|
|Invention outperforms clinicians monitoring kidney treatment in patients||Active||Other|
|Order to chaos and back again||Active||Other|
|StarStream (2007-2015) - Cleaning with low volumes of cold water||Active||Other|
|Whales hunt with wall of sound||Active||Other|
|The sounds of voices and waterfalls on other planets||Active||Other|
|Dolphin-inspired radar for finding bombs, bugs and catastrophe victims||Active||Other|