Mysterious Light from Tiny Bubbles
New York Times: February 27, 2007
LOS ANGELES — Brian Kappus, a physics graduate student at U.C.L.A., tipped the clear cylinder to trap some air bubbles in the clear liquid inside. He clamped the cylinder, upright, on a small turntable and set it spinning. With the flip of another switch, powerful up-and-down vibrations, 50 a second, started shaking the cylinder.
A bubble floating in the liquid — phosphoric acid — started to shine, brightening into an intense ball of light like a miniature star, using sound waves, called sonofusion or bubble fusion, to expand and collapse tiny bubbles, generating ultrahot temperatures. A few small companies and maverick university laboratories are pursuing quixotic solutions for future energy, trying to tap the power of the Sun — hot nuclear fusion — in devices that fit on a tabletop.