Mechanistic Insights into Nanobubble Merging Studied Using In Situ Liquid-Phase Electron Microscopy

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Nanobubbles have attracted great interest in recent times because of their application in water treatment, surface cleaning, and targeted drug delivery, yet the challenge remains to gain thorough understanding of their unique behavior and dynamics for their utilization in numerous potential applications. In this work, we have used a liquid-phase electron microscopy technique to gain insights into the quasistatic merging of surface nanobubbles. The electron beam environment was controlled in order to suppress any new nucleation and slow down the merging process. The transmission electron microscopy study reveals that merging of closely positioned surface nanobubbles is initiated by gradual localized changes in the physical properties of the region between the adjoining nanobubble boundary. The observed phenomenon is then analyzed and discussed based on the different perceptions: localized liquid density gradient and bridge formation for gas exchange. In this study, it is estimated that the merging of the stable nanobubbles is initiated by the formation of a thin gas layer. This work not only enhances our understanding of the merging process of stable surface nanobubbles but will also lead to exploration of new domains for nanobubble applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLangmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jan 5 2021


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