Table of Contents
Advances in Physical Chemistry
Volume 2014, Article ID 173878, 8 pages
Review Article

Plasma Formation during Acoustic Cavitation: Toward a New Paradigm for Sonochemistry

Institut de Chimie Séparative de Marcoule, UMR 5257-CEA-CNRS-UMII-ENSCM, Centre de Marcoule, Bâtiment 426, BP 17171, 30207 Bagnols-sur-Cèze Cedex, France

Received 12 February 2014; Accepted 9 April 2014; Published 4 May 2014

Academic Editor: Samir K. Pal

Copyright © 2014 Sergey I. Nikitenko. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The most recent spectroscopic studies of single bubble (SBSL) and multibubble (MBSL) sonoluminescence reveal that the origin of extreme intrabubble conditions is related to nonequilibrium plasma formed inside the collapsing bubbles. Analysis of the relative populations of OH(A2Σ+) vibrational states observed during MBSL in water saturated with noble gases shows that in the presence of argon at low ultrasonic frequency weakly excited plasma is formed. At high-frequency ultrasound the plasma inside the collapsing bubbles exhibits Treanor behavior typical for strong vibrational excitation. Plasma formation during SBSL was observed in concentrated H2SO4 preequilibrated with Ar. The light emission spectra exhibit the lines from excited Ar atoms and ionized oxygen . Formation of species is inconsistent with any thermal process. Furthermore, the SBSL spectra in H2SO4 show emission lines from Xe+, Kr+, and Ar+ in full agreement with plasma hypothesis. The photons and the “hot” particles generated by cavitation bubbles enable the excitation of nonvolatile species in solutions increasing their chemical reactivity. Secondary sonochemical products may arise from chemically active species that are formed inside the bubble but then diffuse into the liquid phase and react with solution precursors to form a variety of products.