Destruction of bacterial spores by phenomenally high efficiency non-contact ultrasonic transducers

Kelli Hoover, Mahesh Bhardwaj, Nancy Ostiguy, Owen Thompson

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18 Citations (SciVal)


Conventional wisdom stipulates that high power ultrasound without direct or indirect transducer contact with the medium to be treated is not possible. This seemingly correct notion is based upon two major hurdles: inefficient transmission of ultrasound from the piezoelectric material into air/gases and exorbitant attenuation of ultrasound by gases. The latter is a natural phenomenon about which nothing can be done, and the former requires an un-conventional approach to transducer design. After many years of R& D in this area, we have finally succeeded in producing transducers that generate immense acoustic pressure in air in the frequency range of ∼50 kHz→ 10 MHz. By using these transducers without any contact with the material, we demonstrate destruction of 99.9% of dried bacterial spore samples of a close relative of anthrax, Bacillus thuringiensis. Following further refinement of the transducers and the mechanism of their excitation, we anticipate that non-contact ultrasound will have numerous applications including inactivation of agents of bioterrorism and sterilization of medical and surgical equipment, food materials, and airduct systems of buildings, airplanes, space stations, and others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-295
Number of pages5
JournalMaterials Research Innovations
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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