Three-phase vaporization theory for laser-activated microcapsules

Guillaume Lajoinie*, Mirjam Visscher, Emilie Blazejewski, Gert Veldhuis, Michel Versluis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


Precision control of vaporization, both in space and time, is critical for numerous applications, including medical imaging and therapy, catalysis and energy conversion, and it can be greatly improved through the use of micro- or nano-sized light absorbers. Ultimately, optimization of these applications also requires a fundamental understanding of the vaporization process. Upon laser irradiation, polymeric microcapsules containing a dye can vaporize, leading to the growth of a vapor bubble that emits a strong acoustic signature. Here, we compare laser-activated capsules containing either a volatile or a non-volatile oil core. We theoretically explore the vaporization of the capsules based on a three-phase thermodynamics model, that accounts for the partial vaporization of both the surrounding fluid and the oil core as well as for the interaction between heat transfer and microbubble growth. The model is compared to ultra-high-speed imaging experiments, where we record the cavitation events. Theory and experiments are in convincing agreement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100185
Early online date23 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Bubble
  • Cavitation
  • Heat transfer
  • Microcapsules
  • Photoacoustics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Vaporization


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