Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Using sound to see through solid objects

At Los Alamos National Laboratory, a team of scientists have invented a technology that works somewhat like Superman’s X-ray vision.
November 11, 2018
ultrasonic imaging showing accobeam seeing with sound waves rock images

Deep-penetrating capability combined with sharp images can make ACCObeam useful everywhere from oil fields to a health clinic.

Using sound to ‘see’ through solid objects

by Cristian Pantea

To foil supervillains, Superman relies on his X-ray vision to see through shielded objects to expose dangerous items, such as explosives laced with kryptonite. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, a team of scientists in the Materials Synthesis and Integrated Devices group have invented a technology that works somewhat like Superman’s X-ray vision.

Instead of eye beams, this new technology, known as ACCObeam (Acoustic Collimated Beam), uses a new type of sound beam to pierce through physical barriers such as cement, rock and metal and produce high-resolution images of what lies beyond, be it an explosive hidden in a suitcase or an unstable oil well deep in the earth that could fracture and collapse at any given moment.

This story first appeared in Santa Fe New Mexican.