Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from JNCASR, "A dense aqueous dispersion or solution of the material which has high absorption at the laser wavelength is taken in a sample holder so that some material is adsorbed on the top surface. A hot spot is created on the top surface when the adsorbed material absorbs the high intensity at the focus of the laser beam (a submicrometer sized spot), due to which a water vapor bubble is formed. This causes self-assembly of material around the bubble due to Gibbs-Marangoni convection and capillary flow after which the material eventually nucleates into a crystalline state. The bubble is 'trapped' at the hot spot due to the temperature gradient around it and can be manipulated by thermal forces generated optically, so that the system may be described as a 'thermo-optical' tweezers. We translate the trapped bubble using the microscope sample holder stage of the apparatus so that the nucleation site of the material is simultaneously translated generating continuous patterns. We have demonstrated the technique using exotic inorganic materials such as soft oxometalates, an organic material such as glycine, and a fluorescent dye such as perylene as well as with carbon nanotubes."
According to the news editors, the research concluded: "We have written patterns over lengths of nearly 1 mm at the rate of I Hz, with best resolution of about 4 mu m. The technique has potential for a wide range of applications ranging from solution processed printable electronics to controlled catalysis."
For more information on this research see: Self-Assembly of Mesoscopic Materials To Form Controlled and Continuous Patterns by Thermo-Optically Manipulated Laser Induced Microbubbles. Langmuir, 2013;29(47):14733-14742. Langmuir can be contacted at: Amer Chemical Soc,
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