Shock Focusing in Nature and Medicine

  • Nicholas Apazidis
  • Veronica Eliasson
Part of the Shock Wave and High Pressure Phenomena book series (SHOCKWAVE)


We will here get acquainted with some spectacular examples of shock focusing occurring in nature, from a tiny bubble that emits light during its periodic compression and expansion to a supernova that rebounds after a gravitational collapse producing the most powerful energy burst known to us with light intensity comparable to that of the whole galaxy. Interestingly, some of the small sea creatures such as the so-called snapping shrimp, just some 20 mm in length, use cavitation to create a powerful outgoing blasts to hunt their pray. Despite the very small scale compared to astronomical events, the tiny bubble functions as a focusing lens and is able to generate extreme accelerations, forces, and temperatures during nano- and picosecond time intervals. Shock wave lithotripsy is one of the most known medical applications of shock wave focusing. The method, developed three decades ago, uses repeated focused pressure pulses and is now the primary method for treatment of kidney stones.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Apazidis
    • 1
  • Veronica Eliasson
    • 2
  1. 1.MechanicsKTH-Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden
  2. 2.University of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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