Covering Surface Nanobubbles with a NaCl Nanoblanket

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By letting a NaCl aqueous solution of low (0.01 M) concentration evaporate on a highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) surface, it is possible to form a thin film of salt. However, pre-existing surface nanobubbles prevent the homogeneous coverage of the surface with the salt, keeping the footprint areas on the substrate pristine. Comparing the surface nanobubbles in the salt solution with their associated footprint after drying, provides information on the shrinkage of nanobubbles during the hours-long process of drying the liquid film. At a slightly higher NaCl concentration and thus salt layer thickness, the nanobubbles are covered with a thin blanket of salt. Once the liquid film has evaporated until a water film remains that is smaller than the height of the nanobubbles, the blanket of salt cracks and unfolds into a flower-like pattern of salt flakes that is located at the rim of the nanobubble footprint. The formation of a blanket of salt covering the nanobubbles is likely to considerably or even completely block the gas out-flux from the nanobubble, partially stabilizing the nanobubbles against dissolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11337-11343
Number of pages7
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • IR-89963
  • METIS-297513


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