Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

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.