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Physics/sci fi shields


Hello. I came across a website which says that it is possible to create an invisible wall or barrier phenomenon by utilizing superimposed acoustic standing waves. It would have a similar effect as is portrayed for sci fi force fields, such as resisting penetration by objects, glowing purple, ect...

The author says electromagnetic waves could also be used for the same effect, even in a vacuum.
Here is the link to the article:

I was hoping you could give me your assesment of this idea. Is it physically possible to achieve sci fi force field like effects the way the author describes?

Thank you very much.

No, the idea is absurdly oversimplified.  And you can't just completely trap standing waves like that, it doesn't work at all.  Waves are 3-D objects, confining them requires a 3-D container.  With sound waves, some incredibly complex beam of focused ultrasound might help, but it'll never be a real force field type "wall."


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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