Ultrasonic Homogenizers

Ultrasonic Homogenizers

Devices employing ultrasonic waves to homogenize samples; useful for disrupting cells/subcellular structures in suspension, and for creating emulsions. Available as handheld and benchtop models with a range of probe sizes and programming functions.

Also called sonicators, these devices use ultrasonic waves to homogenize samples and are used to prepare samples and create emulsions.

What Is an Ultrasonic Homogenizer?

Ultrasonic homogenizers are commonly used to disrupt cells and tissues via sound waves and the cavitation that they cause. The homogenizer tip vibrates rapidly, creating bubbles that form and collapse. This action tears apart any cells or particles in the solution.

An ultrasonic homogenizer consists of:

  • A power generator and control
  • A transducer or converter to change electric energy into high-frequency mechanical motion
  • A probe or “horn,” typically made of titanium, which vibrates rapidly and longitudinally to transmit energy to the sample

What Are the Applications of an Ultrasonic Homogenizer?

  • Create emulsions
  • Disperse nanoparticles
  • Reduce the size of suspended particles
  • Break apart cells and subcellular structures in suspension
  • Shear DNA (beneficial for some applications)

Are There Drawbacks to Using an Ultrasonic Homogenizer?

Unless it is first macerated and processed as a suspension, sonication does not work well for intact tissue. For gritty samples, use special horns or those with replaceable tips to prevent pitting.

Choose an ultrasonic homogenizer with enough power (wattage) to handle larger or more challenging samples or to process small samples quickly.

Sonication may not be compatible with temperature-sensitive samples because homogenizers generate a significant amount of heat.

The high-powered sound waves of ultrasonic homogenizers also create a hazard. At a minimum, wear ear protection or use in a separate area or inside a sound enclosure.

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