The role of cavitation and gas bubbles in the non-photochemical laser-induced nucleation of sodium acetate

Eleanor r. Barber, Martin r. Ward, Andrew j. Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

An experimental study of the effects of the sodium salt of poly(methacrylic acid) (Na-PMAA) on non-photochemical laser-induced nucleation (NPLIN) of sodium acetate crystals is presented. Seeding of supersaturated aqueous solutions with anhydrous (AH) seeds always produced trihydrate (TH) crystals, with or without polymer additive. Using NPLIN, with no Na-PMAA and at low Na-PMAA concentrations (0.25% w/w) AH sodium acetate was produced, firstly as plate-like form IV, but subsequently growing needles, likely to be form I. At high Na-PMAA concentrations (0.73% w/w) we observe formation mostly of stable bubbles. In all samples at low laser peak power densities (<26 MW cm−2) we show for the first time using NPLIN that both crystals and bubbles can be nucleated with a single laser pulse. Measurements of the dependence of bubble or crystal count on laser pulse power indicate a common mechanistic origin for nucleation, which is cavitation due to laser heating of impurity nanoparticles. The bubbles observed are attributed to laser heating of the nanoparticles to high temperatures, resulting in gas formed by thermochemical reactions or gas that was previously dissolved in the solution. Our results provide new insight into the particle-heating mechanism for NPLIN, but whether stable bubbles play a defining role in the nucleation of crystals remains to be resolved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCrystEngComm
Early online date13 Jun 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jun 2024

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