Snapping shrimp make bubbles flash


Snapping shrimp produce a loud crackling noise so intense that it disturbs underwater communication. It originates from the violent collapse of a large cavitation bubble generated under the tensile forces of a high-velocity water jet formed each time a shrimp's snapper claw snaps shut.

Here we report the experimental observation of a short intense flash of light emitted at bubble collapse. In light of the apparent similarity with sonoluminescence, we term this phenomenon shrimpoluminescence. The flash duration is extremely short, shorter than 10 ns. The total number of photons emitted from the hot bubble interior amounts up to 5 104 photons, which is typically one to two orders of magnitude less than sonoluminescence from a single collapsing bubble. Shrimpoluminescence can therefore not be detected with the naked eye.

The light emission at bubble collapse may not be of biological significance, but rather represents a by-product of the bubble collapse, whose shock wave is utilized to stun or even kill prey animals. Nevertheless, the light emission highlights the extreme conditions in the hot bubble interior at collapse and therefore the violence of the event.

Read all about it in Nature

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