Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Super Sonic
22 June 2017

Super Sonic

Superman’s been set up! He’s not to blame for the terrified minifigure sent flying through the air. Instead, the culprit was a jolt from an invisible burst of sound. Everyone knows that sound travels in waves; looping patterns that are 'louder' at the place they are made than where they are 'heard'. But imagine recording a sound and spinning it around, reversing its wave pattern in time. Its loudest point can now be sent wherever you want – as a focussed blast of energy. Using this technique, called time reversal, focussed vibrations can lift a tiny Batman off the ground, but they can also be used to blast away kidney stones. And, by examining wave patterns as they pass through different substances, researchers are using time reversal to spy on tissues in the human body and to spot cracks in the walls of nuclear power stations.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.