A sonicator bath is a tool that propagates ultrasonic waves through fluid contained within it. The ultrasonic bath is used in the laboratory to lyse cells, to degass water, and to break up clumped and aggregated magnetic beads, among many other uses. Ultrasonic cleaners are used to remove dirt and grime on objects that are hidden in difficult crevices that brushes or sprays cannot access. The most common fluid used in an ultrasonic bath or ultrasonic cleaner is distilled water. Other solvents may be added to help in cleaning processes, but in the laboratory, sonicator baths are almost always filled with distilled water. One must be careful when using solvents to ensure that they don’t have a low flash point as the ultrasonic waves will heat up the fluid in the bath. Sonicator baths work by applying ultrasonic waves to fluid. Ultrasonic waves are sound waves greater than 20 kHz; when propagated through fluid they bounce into air bubbles and cause them to burst. The shock wave released by bursting air bubbles helps to lyse cells, remove dirt from surfaces, or to break apart aggregated magnetic beads.
Today we'll learn more about breaking up irreversible magnetic bead aggregates with different methods such as the sonication method, are you ready?
The problems with magnetic bead suspensions
The major problem with non-colloidal solids suspended in liquids is that they will eventually sediment and clump over time. Magnetic bead suspensions are no exception. Even though magnetic separation is generally gentler than separation by centrifugation, clumps and aggregates can still form. Aggregate formation happens at a much greater frequency if you do not use homogenous biomagnetic separation conditions.