Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Traces of nanobubbles determine nanoboiling

Using a microscope and some extreme “snapshot” photography with shutter speeds only a few nanoseconds long, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Cornell University have uncovered the traces of ephemeral “nanobubbles” formed in boiling water on a microheater. Their observations* suggest an added complexity to the everyday phenomenon of boiling, and may affect technologies as diverse as inkjet printers and some proposed cancer therapies.

You might think that the science of boiling had been worked out some time ago, but it still has some mysteries, particularly at the nanometer scale. As water and other fluids change from their liquid state to a vapor, bubbles of the vapor form. The bubbles usually form at “nucleation sites,” which can be small surface irregularities on the container or tiny suspended particles in the fluid. The exact onset of boiling depends on the presence and nature of these sites.

To observe the process, the NIST/Cornell team used a unique ultrafast laser strobe microscopy technique with an effective shutter speed of eight nanoseconds to photograph bubbles growing on a microheater surface about 15 micrometers wide. At this scale, a voltage pulse of only five microseconds superheats the water to nearly 300 °C, creating a microbubble tens of microns in diameter. When the pulse ends, the microbubble collapses as the water cools. What the team found was that if a second voltage pulse follows closely enough, the second microbubble forms earlier during the pulse and at a lower temperature apparently, as conjectured by the team, because nanobubbles formed by the collapse of the first bubble become new nucleation sites for the growth of later bubbles. The nanobubbles themselves are too small to observe, but by changing the timing between voltage pulses and observing how long it takes the second microbubble to form, the researchers were able to estimate the lifetime of the nanobubbles—roughly 100 microseconds.

These experiments are believed to be the first evidence that nanoscale bubbles can form on hydrophilic surfaces (previous evidence of nanobubbles was found only for hydrophobic surfaces like oilcloth) and the method for measuring nanobubble lifetimes may improve models for optimal heat transfer design in nanostructures. The work has immediate implications for inkjet printing, in which a metal film is heated with a voltage pulse to create a bubble that is used to eject a droplet of ink through a nozzle. If inkjet printing is pushed to higher speeds (repetition rates above about 10 kilohertz), the work suggests, nanobubbles on the heater surface between pulses will make it difficult or impossible to control bubble formation properly.

The findings also may impact proposed thermal cancer therapies in which nanoscale objects are designed to accumulate in tumors and are subsequently heated remotely by infrared radiation or alternating magnetic fields. Each particle acts as a nanoscale heater, with nanobubbles being created if the applied radiation is sufficient. The bubbles may have a therapeutic effect through additional heat delivered and mechanical stresses they may impart to the surrounding tissue.

Michael Baum | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>