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Research project: From Blue sky to Starstream

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Starstream, and the related technology Starglider, was conceived and developed by a team led and centred in Chemistry.

This technology built on the understanding developed in my group over a number of years.  It is a testament to the contribution of ‘blue sky research’ to the wider pursuit of exploitable technology.  I was lucky to have had a number of excellent students in my group all of which have contributed to the collective group knowledge.  In particular, for these step change technologies, I would like to acknowledge Dr Chris Vian and Dr Doug Offin1.  These, with me, formed the core team that produced these technologies2–4.

The Starstream technology is based on the concept of generating the conditions necessary to clean an interface with ultrasound.  Two fundamental problems need to be addressed.  First, the ability to generate a suitable acoustic pressure amplitude and second, to have a bubble population, which can be acted on by the sound field present.  This all needs to be solved in a flowing stream.  For the Starstream technology, a particular architecture was generated.  In addition, to enhance the natural bubble population, an electrochemically generated bubble swarm was employed.  The figure shows the basic strategy deployed in the device.

  1. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, 16, 4982–9.
  2. P. R. Birkin, D. G. Offin, C. J. B. Vian and T. G. Leighton, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2015, 17, 21709–21715.
  3. P. R. Birkin, D. G. Offin, C. J. B. Vian, R. P. Howlin, J. I. Dawson, T. J. Secker, R. C. Hervé, P. Stoodley, R. O. C. Oreffo, C. W. Keevil and T. G. Leighton, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., , DOI:10.1039/c5cp02406d.
  4. P. R. Birkin, D. G. Offin and T. G. Leighton, Ultrason. Sonochem., , DOI:10.1016/j.ultsonch.2015.10.001.

Star stream

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