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!
Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
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07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
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07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine