Vapor and Gas-Bubble Growth Dynamics around Laser-Irradiated, Water-Immersed Plasmonic Nanoparticles

Juliang Wang, Mikhail E. Zaytsev, Hai Le The, Jan C.T. Eijkel, Harold J.W. Zandvliet, Xuehua Zhang, Detlef Lohse

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Microbubbles produced by exposing water-immersed metallic nanoparticles to resonant light play an important role in emerging and efficient plasmonic-enhanced processes for catalytic conversion, solar energy harvesting, biomedical imaging, and cancer therapy. How do these bubbles form, and what is their gas composition? In this paper, the growth dynamics of nucleating bubbles around laser-irradiated, water-immersed Au plasmonic nanoparticles are studied to determine the exact origin of the occurrence and growth of these bubbles. The microbubbles’ contact angle, footprint diameter, and radius of curvature were measured in air-equilibrated water (AEW) and degassed water (DGW) with fast imaging. Our experimental data reveals that the growth dynamics can be divided into two regimes: an initial bubble nucleation phase (regime I, < 10 ms) and, subsequently a bubble growth phase (regime II). The explosive growth in regime I is identical for AEW and DGW due to the vaporization of water. However, the slower growth in regime II is distinctly different for AEW and DGW, which is attributed to the uptake of dissolved gas expelled from the water around the hot nanoparticle. Our scaling analysis reveals that the bubble radius scales with time as R(t) ∝ t1/6 for both AEW and DGW in the initial regime I, whereas in the later regime II it scales as R(t) ∝ t1/3 for AEW and is constant for perfectly degassed water. These scaling relations are consistent with the experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2045-2051
Number of pages6
JournalACS nano
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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