Acoustic levitation: recent developments and emerging opportunities in biomaterials research
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Containerless sample environments (levitation) are useful for study of nucleation, supercooling, and vitrification and for synthesis of new materials, often with non-equilibrium structures. Elimination of extrinsic nucleation by container walls extends access to supercooled and supersaturated liquids under high-purity conditions. Acoustic levitation is well suited to the study of liquids including aqueous solutions, organics, soft materials, polymers, and pharmaceuticals at around room temperature. This article briefly reviews recent developments and applications of acoustic levitation in materials R&D. Examples of experiments yielding amorphous pharmaceutical materials are presented. The implementation and results of experiments on supercooled and supersaturated liquids using an acoustic levitator at a high-energy X-ray beamline are described.