Surface Nanobubbles Are Stabilized by Hydrophobic Attraction

Journal: Physical Review Letters

Published: 2018-04-19

DOI: 10.1103/physrevlett.120.164502

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 3

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Research Highlight

The secret to nanobubbles’ long life

© Henrik Sorensen/Getty

© Henrik Sorensen/Getty

By modelling the properties of surface nanobubbles, scientists have identified the mechanism responsible for their formation and longevity, which could lead to their use in a wide range of applications.

Nanoscale bubbles that form at the boundaries between liquids and hydrophobic solid surfaces exhibit remarkable properties, including long life and superstability. However, the mechanism responsible for these properties has perplexed scientists for decades.

Now, three scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have modelled the formation of surface nanobubbles to identify the mechanism responsible for their extraordinary stability.

They found that, while saturation and hydrophobicity both contribute to stability, only contact line pinning, which prevents nanobubbles moving sideways, is required to maintain stability.

The finding could lead to new nanodevices for use in applications in microfluidics and photocatalysis.

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  1. Physical Review Letters 120, 164502 (2018). doi: 10.1103/physrevlett.120.164502
Institutions Share
Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore 0.83
Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg (OVGU), Germany 0.17