Plasmonic Bubble Nucleation and Growth in Water: Effect of Dissolved Air

Xiaolai Li, Yuliang Wang*, Mikhail E. Zaytsev, Guillaume Lajoinie, Hai Le The, Johan G. Bomer, Jan C.T. Eijkel, Harold J.W. Zandvliet, Xuehua Zhang, Detlef Lohse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


Under continuous laser irradiation, noble metal nanoparticles immersed in water can quickly heat up, leading to the nucleation of so-called plasmonic bubbles. In this work, we want to further understand the bubble nucleation and growth mechanism. In particular, we quantitatively study the effect of the amount of dissolved air on the bubble nucleation and growth dynamics, both for the initial giant bubble, which forms shortly after switching on the laser and is mainly composed of vapor, and for the final life phase of the bubble, during which it mainly contains air expelled from water. We found that the bubble nucleation temperature depends on the gas concentration: the higher the gas concentration, the lower the bubble nucleation temperature. Also, the long-term diffusion-dominated bubble growth is governed by the gas concentration. The radius of the bubbles grows as R(t) ∝ t1/3 for air-equilibrated and air-oversaturated water. In contrast, in partially degassed water, the growth is much slower since, even for the highest temperature we achieve, the water remains undersaturated. ©

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23586-23593
JournalJournal of physical chemistry C
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2019


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