Lithotripsy and Acoustic Levitation

photo of laboratory equipment

Professor Holt

This laboratory houses a number of shock wave sources for research into lithotripsy (breaking of kidney stones) and shock wave therapy (the treatment of musculoskeletal pain).

There are two electrohydraulic (spark based source) lithotripters: one is a research device which allows control over various aspects of the shock wave and the second is a clinical device complete with fluoroscopic imaging. The lab is also home to two shock wave therapy (SWT) devices for research into the use of shock waves to treat soft-tissue injury.

Acoustical and optical cavitation detection systems are used to sense bubble activity generated by shock waves. There is a high-pressure chamber with acoustically transparent windows that is equipped with acoustic and optical ports to allow for the study of shock wave interaction with stones under pressure.

The laboratory also houses the Drop Physics Module, an acoustic levitation apparatus that flew on the Space Shuttle in the Space-lab module during the missions STS-50 (First United States Micro-gravity Laboratory, USML-1) and STS-73 (USML-2). The apparatus enabled the study of drop dynamics and surface rheology in micro-gravity. This apparatus is currently being refurbished and will be used for studies of the dynamic rheology of foams.