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Sonicator Principle and Uses

In this sonicator principle and uses post we have briefly explained about parts of sonicator, how does sonication work, principle, sonicator instrument methods, and applications of sonicator machine.

Sound waves are used to stir particles in a solution. To separate substances, it converts an electrical signal into a physical vibration. These disruptions have the ability to mix solutions, speed up the dissolving of a solid into a liquid (such as sugar into water), and eliminate dissolved gas from liquids. Sonicator machine sonication breaks up molecules and ruptures cells in DNA testing, releasing proteins for testing.

Sonicator Principle and Uses

Parts of Sonicator Machine

Sonicator machine is comprised of 3 major components: The following are the three parts of the sonicator machine.

1. Generator

AC line power is converted to high frequency electrical energy by the ultrasonic electronic generator. The user can regulate the sonication parameters using a keypad or buttons on the generator.

2. Converter

The generator provides high voltage pulses of energy at a frequency of 20 kHz that drives a piezoelectric Converter. The converter is a cylindrical device which is connected to the generator by a high voltage cable. The converter transforms electrical energy to mechanical vibration due to the characteristics of the internal piezoelectric crystals.

3. Probe/Horn

The vibration is amplified and transmitted down the length of the Probe/Horn. Probes have threaded ends and attach to the converter. During operation, the probe’s tip longitudinally expands and contracts. Amplitude is the distance the tip travels and is dependent on the amplitude setting selected by the user.

How does Sonication Work?

Ultrasonic sound waves are used in the sonication process. Due to the applied pressure, hundreds of small vacuum bubbles form in the solution during the procedure. During the cavitation process, the generated bubbles collapse into the solution.

In the cavitation field, bubbles collapse, resulting in the generation of massive amounts of energy in the form of waves. The molecular relationships between water molecules are disrupted as a result of this. The particles begin to disperse as the molecular connections decrease, allowing the mixing process to take place.

The sound waves cause energy to be released, which causes friction in the solution. To keep the sample from heating up during and after the sonication process, ice cubes are utilised.

Principle of Sonicator

Cavitation causes dispersion, homogenization, disintegration, emulsions, extraction, and sonochemical effects in the ultrasonication process. High-powered ultrasound is introduced into the liquid, resulting in high-pressure (compression) and low-pressure regions (known as rarefaction).  The creation of these regions is dependent on the rate of frequency at which the ultrasound is applied.

When a liquid is subjected to low pressure, high-intensity ultrasonic waves are produced, resulting in the formation of small vacuum bubbles in the liquid. When the bubbles reach saturation, they collapse, as seen in the high-pressure cycle. This is known as cavitation. During cavitation, liquid bubbles can travel at speeds of up to 280 m/s.

The below figure explains how the sonicator machine sound wave propagates in the liquid resulting in the formation of bubbles and their collapse.

Sonicator

Sonicator Principle and Uses, Image Source: www.lubio.ch

Sonicator Instrument Methods

Based on the sample contact with the probe, there are two sonication methods and they are:

1. Direct sonication method

Direct sonication method, the most common method of processing a sample is sonication (inserting a probe directly into a sample vessel). The probe transmits high-intensity energy directly into the sample, and the sample is processed quickly.

Sonicator

Image Source: www.sonicator.com

The liquid volume that can be effectively processed is determined by the diameter of the probe’s tip. Smaller tip diameters (Microtip probes) produce high-intensity sonication, with the energy focused in a small, concentrated area. Larger tip diameters can process more volume but provide less intensity. To increase the output of large diameter probes, boosters and High Gain horns can be used. Probes are made of titanium and come with either replaceable or solid tips.

2. Indirect sonication method

Indirect sonication method, indirect sonicator machine eliminates the need for your sample to come into contact with a probe. This method is frequently referred to as a high-intensity ultrasonic bath. The ultrasonic energy travels from the horn through the water and into a vessel or multiple sample tubes.

Sonicator

Image Source: www.sonicator.com

Indirect sonication is most effective for very small samples because it eliminates foaming and sample loss. Aerosols and cross contamination are avoided in pathogenic or sterile samples using this method. The Cup Horn and Microplate Horn provide indirect sonication and are suitable for a wide range of high-throughput applications.

Applications

  1. The well-known sonicator machine is frequently used to break up tissue cells, extract proteins, and prepare and disperse grapheme and nanomaterials. Then, what industries and fields should sonicator machine be used in? The following experiments are listed below.
  2. Essential oil extraction, traditional Chinese medicine extraction, natural pigment extraction, polysaccharide extraction, flavone extraction, alkaloid extraction, polyphenol extraction, organic acid extraction, oil extraction are all examples of biological industries.
  3. Ultrasonic emulsification and homogenization, ultrasonic gel liquefaction, resin defoaming, ultrasonic oil demulsification are all applications of sonicator machine in the chemical industry.
  4. Ultrasonicator technology, in particular, can be used in the pre–treatment phase of the organic wastewater treatment process.
  5. Ultrasonic biodiesel production has the potential to significantly accelerate and strengthen ester exchange reactions and other chemical reactions in various chemical processes.
  6. Chemical stirring, logistics stirring, cell crushing, product crushing, substance dispersion (suspension preparation) and condensation, material mixing: oil and water mixing, cosmetics production, and ultrasonic emulsification, among other applications.
  7. Sonicator machine is also used in the food industry to disperse emulgators and speed up the filtration process.

  8. Alcohol chunhua, fine cosmetics particles, and nanoparticle preparation are all used in the food and cosmetics industries.
  9. Ultrasonic synthesis of graphene via graphite exfoliation is the most reliable and advantageous method to produce high-quality graphene.

Further Readings

Reference

  1. https://www.bioke.com/blobs/Brochures/QS/Catalog.pdf
  2. https://sonotronic.de/technologies/ultrasonic/sonication-of-bio-solids
  3. https://www.labrotovap.com/application-of-sonicator-what-is-a-sonicator-used-for/
  4. https://byjus.com/physics/sonication/