Weiyu Ran and colleagues from Clemson University in South Carolina have developed a technique which involves levitating droplets of water using an ultrasonic field, and then manipulating the shapes of the drops into starry spikes by adjusting the field’s frequency. In the video above you will see how the droplets are flattened at first when researchers strengthen the field, followed by the drops taking on a morphing star-like shape when the field is tuned to the exact resonant frequency of the drops (i.e. by using various multiples of the frequency the star will correspond with a matching number of spikes). Ran’s goal is to use the discovery to create new methods for removing dangerous particles from the air. For example, the only way to remove dangerous, lung-harming particles from the air inside mines is to use sprays. A frequency-based technique such as this could be a groundbreaking new way to clean the air not only inside mines, but in other hazardous locations around the world. The research will be featured at the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, next month in November 2013.