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Levitation is not fiction: scientists conduct the first contactless chemical reactions

Levitation is not fiction

What is levitation? It is the ability of any object to soar in the air without any support. In the modern world, levitation has long been considered fiction. It could be present in science fiction novels and even in films where imaginative special effects were used. Magic and miracle - that is how contemporaries described the ability of objects to hang in the air. However, now levitation is becoming a reality.

The scientists were able to raise drops of liquid above the surface, without using any devices to support them. Mixing liquids to the desired state and observing them is completely difficult. However, the results are worth it.


ACS specialists at Analytical Chemistry were able to conduct a non-contact experiment, eventually developing a method called non-contact levitation. They created a device for levitation of small objects. Physics requires such objects possess physical properties. That is an electric charge or magnetism. In another case, acoustic levitation, which uses sound waves to place an object in a gas, does not depend on such properties.

However, the scientists were able to prove that existing devices for acoustic levitation and mixing of individual particles or drops are complex, and it is difficult to obtain measurements from them when a chemical reaction occurs.

The researchers Stephen Broughton and Ralph Kaiser announced their willingness to develop a universal method for contactless control of two chemically distinguishable drops. They also used a universal set of probes to monitor the reaction as droplets merged. Two drops were brought as close as possible, one was located above the other.


Then the upper drop was forced to oscillate, thereby changing the amplitude of the sound wave. The oscillating top drop merged with the bottom drop. The resulting chemical reaction was monitored using infrared, raman and ultraviolet spectroscopy.

The researchers combined various drops in the same way. In one experiment, they combined an ionic liquid with a nitric acid, causing a small explosion. A new levitation method can help the scientists to study different types of chemical reactions in areas such as materials science, medical chemistry, and planetology.