Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Popping Sound

Inflating droplets with ultrasound could be used to make foams which better deliver topical medication

22 September 2018

Popping Sound

It’s a nightmare for bubble blowers – the moment when, instead of leaving a bubble wand, a wobbling nearly-bubble seems to change its mind and deflate – hurtling back towards a terrified face and a soapy pop. This unfortunate quirk of surface tension is reversed here, inflating droplets of a soapy substance using ultrasound, as a step towards transforming drug delivery. Acoustic vibrations cause the edge of the droplet to buckle and rise (top row). Resonating vibrations grow the bubble, and a split second later it floats away (bottom right). Adapting the technique for industry, ultrasound could be used to create pharmacological foams – increasingly used over creams to deliver topical drugs onto skin when treating conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis.

Written by John Ankers

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