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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sonication is the act of applying sound energy to agitate particles in a sample, for various
purposes. Ultrasonic frequencies (>20 kHz) are usually used, leading to the process also being
known as ultrasonication or ultra-sonication.[1]
In the laboratory, it is usually applied using an ultrasonic bath or an ultrasonic probe,
colloquially known as a sonicator. In a paper machine, an ultrasonic foil can distribute cellulose
fibres more uniformly and strengthen the paper.
Sonication has numerous effects, both chemical and physical. The chemical effects of ultrasound
are concerned with understanding the effect of sonic waves on chemical systems, this is called
sonochemistry.[2] The chemical effects of ultrasound do not come from a direct interaction with
molecular species. Studies have shown that no direct coupling of the acoustic field with chemical
species on a molecular level can account for sonochemistry [3] or sonoluminescence.[4] Instead,
sonochemistry arises from acoustic cavitation: the formation, growth, and implosive collapse of
bubbles in a liquid.[5]
Sonication can be used for the production of nanoparticles, such as nanoemulsions,[6]
nanocrystals, liposomes and wax emulsions, as well as for wastewater purification, degassing,
extraction of plant oil, extraction of anthocyanins and antioxidants, [7] production of biofuels,
crude oil desulphurization, cell disruption, polymer and epoxy processing, adhesive thinning, and
many other processes. It is applied in pharmaceutical, cosmetic, water, food, ink, paint, coating,
wood treatment, metalworking, nanocomposite, pesticide, fuel, wood product and many other
Sonication can be used to speed dissolution, by breaking intermolecular interactions. It is
especially useful when it is not possible to stir the sample, as with NMR tubes. It may also be
used to provide the energy for certain chemical reactions to proceed. Sonication can be used to

remove dissolved gases from liquids (degassing) by sonicating the liquid while it is under a
vacuum. This is an alternative to the freeze-pump-thaw and sparging methods.
In biological applications, sonication may be sufficient to disrupt or deactivate a biological
material. For example, sonication is often used to disrupt cell membranes and release cellular
contents. This process is called sonoporation. Sonication is also used to fragment molecules of
DNA, in which the DNA subjected to brief periods of sonication is sheared into smaller
Sonication is commonly used in nanotechnology for evenly dispersing nanoparticles in liquids.
Sonication can also be used to initiate crystallisation processes and even control polymorphic
crystallisations.[8] It is used to intervene in anti-solvent precipitations (crystallisation) to aid
mixing and isolate small crystals.
Sonication is the mechanism used in ultrasonic cleaningloosening particles adhering to
surfaces. In addition to laboratory science applications, sonicating baths have applications
including cleaning objects such as spectacles and jewelry.
Sonication is used in food industry as well. Main applications are for dispersion to save
expensive emulgators (mayonnaise) or to speed up filtration processes (vegetable oil etc.).
Experiments with sonification for artificial ageing of liquers and other alcoholic beverages were
Soil samples are often subjected to ultrasound in order to break up soil aggregates; this allows
the study of the different constituents of soil aggregates (especially soil organic matter) without
subjecting them to harsh chemical treatment.[9]
Sonication is also used to extract microfossils from rock.[10]
Sonication can also refer to buzz pollination the process that bees use to shake pollen from
flowers by vibrating their wing muscles.
Substantial intensity of ultrasound and high ultrasonic vibration amplitudes are required for






nano-emulsification, [6]

deagglomeration, extraction, cell disruption, as well as many others. Commonly, a process is first
tested on a laboratory scale to prove feasibility and establish some of the required ultrasonic
exposure parameters. After this phase is complete, the process is transferred to a pilot (bench)

scale for flow-through pre-production optimization and then to an industrial scale for continuous
production. During these scale-up steps, it is essential to make sure that all local exposure
conditions (ultrasonic amplitude, cavitation intensity, time spent in the active cavitation zone,
etc.) stay the same. If this condition is met, the quality of the final product remains at the
optimized level, while the productivity is increased by a predictable "scale-up factor". The
productivity increase results from the fact that laboratory, bench and industrial-scale ultrasonic
processor systems incorporate progressively larger ultrasonic horns, able to generate
progressively larger high-intensity cavitation zones and, therefore, to process more material per
unit of time. This is called "direct scalability". It is important to point out that increasing the
power capacity of the ultrasonic processor alone does not result in direct scalability, since it may
be (and frequently is) accompanied by a reduction in the ultrasonic amplitude and cavitation
intensity. During direct scale-up, all processing conditions must be maintained, while the power
rating of the equipment is increased in order to enable the operation of a larger ultrasonic horn. [11]

Finding the optimum operation condition for this equipment is a challenge for process

engineers and needs deep knowledge about side effects of ultrasonic processors.[14]
1. "Ontology".
2. "Sonochemical Reaction and Synthesis".
3. Suslick,




Bibcode:1990Sci...247.1439S. doi:10.1126/science.247.4949.1439.
4. Suslick, K. S.; Flannigan, D. J. (2008). "Inside a Collapsing Bubble, Sonoluminescence
and Conditions during Cavitation". Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. 59: 659683.
Bibcode:2008ARPC...59..659S. doi:10.1146/annurev.physchem.59.032607.093739.
5. Suslick, Kenneth S. (February 1989). The Chemical Effects of Ultrasound. Scientific
American. pp.62-68 (p.62)
6. Peshkovsky, A.S., Peshkovsky, S.L., Bystryak, S. "Scalable high-power ultrasonic
technology for the production of translucent nanoemulsions", Chemical Engineering and
Processing: Process Intensification, 2013. 69: p. 7762.
7. Golmohamadi, Amir (September 2013). "Effect of ultrasound frequency on antioxidant
activity, total phenolic and anthocyanin content of red raspberry puree". Ultrasonics
Sonochemistry. 20 (5): 131623. doi:10.1016/j.ultsonch.2013.01.020. PMID 23507361.

8. Deora, N.S., Misra, N.N., et al. (2013) Ultrasound for improved crystallisation in food
processing, Food Engineering Reviews, 5(1):36-44.
9. Kaiser, Michael; Asefaw Berhe, Asmeret (August 2014). "How does sonication affect the
mineral and organic constituents of soil aggregates?-A review". Journal of Plant Nutrition
and Soil Science. 177 (4): 479495. doi:10.1002/jpln.201300339. Retrieved 18 February
10. Gensel, P.G.; Johnson, N.G.; Strother, P.K. (1990). "Early Land Plant Debris (Hooker's"
Waifs and Strays"?)". PALAIOS. 5 (6): 520547. doi:10.2307/3514860. JSTOR 3514860.
11. Peshkovsky, S.L. and Peshkovsky, A.S., "Matching a transducer to water at cavitation:
Acoustic horn design principles", Ultrason. Sonochem., 2007. 14: p. 314322.
12. A.S. Peshkovsky, S.L. Peshkovsky "Industrial-scale processing of liquids by highintensity acoustic cavitation - the underlying theory and ultrasonic equipment design
principles", In: Nowak F.M, ed., Sonochemistry: Theory, Reactions and Syntheses, and
Applications, Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers; 2010.
13. A.S. Peshkovsky, S.L. Peshkovsky "Acoustic Cavitation Theory and Equipment Design
Principles for Industrial Applications of High-Intensity Ultrasound", Book Series:
Physics Research and Technology, Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers; 2010.
14. Parvareh, A., Mohammadifar, A., Keyhani, M. and Yazdanpanah, R. (2015). A statistical
study on thermal side effects of ultrasonic mixing in a gas-liquid system. In: The 15 th