So-called “microbubbles” — bubbles around 1-50 micrometers in diameter, have a wide range of uses, from drug delivery, to membrane cleaning, to water treatment. However, the methods for creating these ultra-fine microbubbles has been less than efficient, with methods like laser pulses or ultrasound tending to create a random assortment of bubbles which are unstable and of limited use.
A research team from Swinburne University of Technology has partnered with researchers from National University in Singapore, Rutgers University, University of Melbourne, and Monash University to create precisely formed graphene microbubbles on a glass surface using laser pulses. Their findings have recently been published in the journal Advanced Photonics.
The team used lasers to irradiate graphene oxide film, producing gases that could be captured inside the film to form the perfectly spherical microbubbles, similar to a balloon. Bubbles of this quality and consistency could have applications in devices that require high-precision lenses, such as high-power microscopes.
Swinburne University professor and project lead Baohua Jia said the discovery represents “a pathway for generating highly controlled microbubbles at will and integration of graphene microbubbles as dynamic and high precision nanophotonic components for miniaturized lab-on-a-chip devices, along with broad potential applications in high resolution spectroscopy and medical imaging.”