Sound Scalpel With a new technique that uses tightly-focused sound waves for micro-surgery, University of Michigan engineering researchers drilled a 150-micrometer hole in an artificial kidney stone, and removed cancerous cells from an ovary. They were able to control the size of the damage zone by focusing the sound beam. University of Michigan

A Nanotube Lens Focuses Sound Waves Into An Invisible Sonic Scalpel

Therapeutic ultrasound can now blast and cut with targeted precision.

By Rebecca Boyle
Posted 12.20.2012 at 1:00 pm

Today’s ultrasound machines are a long way beyond just checking out babies in the womb–they’re used to break up kidney stones, ease sore muscles and more. Now, with a new nanotube lens, they can also serve as an invisible sonic knife.

Though targeted ultrasound is useful, it can be unwieldy, with a relatively large focal area. Aim a beam of sound at a kidney stone and you’ll likely hit the centimeter-sized object, but better precision–like hitting a cholesterol deposit in a blood vessel, or a specific clump of cancer cells–is hard to achieve. To improve matters, University of Michigan researchers turned to nanotubes and started with light instead of sound.

Read more: A Nanotube Lens Focuses Sound Waves Into An Invisible Sonic Scalpel | Popular Science.

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