Metamaterials give sound a twist

Using metamaterials, scientists were able to build a device (illustrated here) that can rotate sound, a trick that may improve medical imaging.

J.Cheng/Nanjing University

Metamaterials, known for their ability to create invisibility cloaks, can now twist sound in weird ways.

The design of the acoustic rotator allows researchers to rotate a wave at precise angles so that it originates from the opposite direction. Rotating sound waves in this way would bump up the contrast in the ultrasound devices and improve imaging of damaged tissue, scientists suggest February 25 in Applied Physics Letters.

photo of Ashley Yeager

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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