Could my civilization use sonoluminescence to create exotic works of art? Someone said on a science forum that future applications of sonoluminescence can be art. Is this feasible or even possible? I want my civilization to create art in the most unique way but if this is totally impossible, I will find something else.


1 Answer 1


I'm going to go with "No, but yes."

I don't think sonoluminescence could ever be the display medium for art: the burst of light is very short lived, often requiring high-speed cameras to capture and view.

But I think you could make art using sonoluminescence, for instance, there's this video on Smarter Every Day that is rather beautiful to watch. It uses triboluminescence instead of sonoluminescence (shattering crystals rather than collapsing vacuum pockets under water) but it's a similar effect. I'd say that that is worth calling "art" even if the display medium is standard (slow-motion) video.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ According to the wiki page - the Uncompahgre Ute Native Americans used this effect for art, so there's a real life precedence (and they didn't use slow motion video for that either :) ) $\endgroup$
    – G0BLiN
    Dec 7, 2017 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ @G0BLiN if only it were true. According to your link the Uncomahgre Ute use mechanoluminescence, which while it has similarities to sonoluminescence it's not the same thing. Either way, what they do is amazing. I really like the idea of sonoluminescent art. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Dec 7, 2017 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ @G0BLiN Good find, its not sonoluminescence as a4android points out, but it is certainly similar. Doing the same thing with water cavities would be really hard, though maybe possible with enough modern science. $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2017 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android - "this effect" in my comment refers to triboluminescence (which is the effect Draco18s suggests as an alternative), I'm not really clear on the difference between that and mechanoluminescence. At any rate, thanks for pointing out the ambiguity... $\endgroup$
    – G0BLiN
    Dec 7, 2017 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ @G0BLiN Ambiguity always torpedoes our best intentions. Me too! The effects seem too similar. Friction is a mechanical phenomenon. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Dec 9, 2017 at 1:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .