Light-scattering method enables understanding of nanobubble formation, behavior

June 29, 2009--Using a light-scattering analysis method called nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), scientists at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial and Science Technology (AIST; Tokyo) have shown that in the presence of electrolytes and with the correct physical stimulus, stable nanobubbles can be formed from conventional microbubbles.

Interest in nanobubbles is reportedly growing quickly because of their wide range of potential applications. When formed from ozone and stabilized with electrolyte, nanobubbles promise months-long disinfection and sterilization with potential for food preservation and medical applications. Oxygen nanobubbles have been implicated in the prevention of arteriosclerosis (by inhibiting mRNA expression induced by cytokine stimulation in rat aorta cell lines). And when formed in liquids in capillaries, nanobubbles have been shown to greatly improve liquid flow characteristics. They have also been proposed as contrast agents in scanning techniques as well as cleaning agents in silicon manufacturing processes.

According to AIST researchers Kaneo Chiba and Masayoshi Takahashi, microbubbles tend to either coalesce to larger buoyant bubbles and float away or collapse under intense surface tension-derived pressure to the point that they vanish as predicted by theory. The addition of salt (electrolytes), however, is thought to cause the formation of a counter-ion screen around nanobubbles, which effectively blocks the ability of gases within them to diffuse out. The researchers confirmed this through electrophoresis studies in which the zeta potential of nanobubbles was shown to be related to their stability.

The NTA approach, developed by NanoSight (Salisbury, UK) has proven to facilitate such analyses. In a blind experiment in which three suspension samples (containing high, low, and zero concentrations) were tested in duplicate, NTA's results were found to match exactly those predicted. In addition to concentration per unit volume, the approach enables evaluation of size and size distribution.

Representing another research group, Ichiro Otsuka of Ohu University (Koriyama, Japan) has studied the possible role of nanobubbles in ultra-high diluted samples of active agents in which the phenomenon of succussion is considered to relevant. He used NTA to examine nanobubble formation and concentration in more detail than was possible using an electrozone (Coulter) method or conventional dynamic light scattering (DLS) techniques.

To learn more about nanobubbles and their characterization using NTA, read "NanoBubbles: a new class of structure ready for exploitation?" in the latest issue of NanoTrail, NanoSight's eNewsletter.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode,, for Laser Focus World.

Most Popular Articles


Fracking, climate change, and lasers:  new tools to reduce fugitive methane emissions

This webcast, sponsored by Hamamatsu Corporation, covers recent developments and field deployments of compact quantum-cascade-laser (QCL)-based methane senso...

Opportunities in the Mid-IR

The technology for exploiting the mid-IR is developing rapidly:  it includes quantum-cascade lasers and other sources, spectroscopic instruments of many...

Fiber Optic Sensors – Fundamentals, Principles and Applications

In this webcast, sponsored by Nufern, we focus on optical fiber sensing technology.  Fundamental concepts will be presented first, followed by the under...

Infinite Possibilities – Easily Combining Scanner and Servo Motion

High precision motion control applications such as laser micromachining, 2-photon polymerization, glass panel and film patterning, and additive manufacturing...
Technical Digests

HIGH-POWER FIBER LASERS: Working in the kilowatt regime

High-power materials-processing fiber lasers are available in an increasing variety of forms, as ...
Sponsored by

Click here to have your products listed in the Laser Focus World Buyers Guide.


Phantom ir300

The Phantom ir300 provides extended spectral response beyond visible light spectrum up ...

Miro Airborne

Miro Airborne is a high-speed camera designed for airborne applications.

Phantom Miro Family

The Phantom Miro family are small, lightweight digital high-speed cameras.


Photonics Bretagne

Offers a cluster composed of research centers, schools and companies all in the field o...

Raw Communications

Provider of marketing services in the fiber optic data communications industry includin...

XiO Photonics B V

Offers strong competence in integrated optical products for visible light applications....

Social Activity

Copyright © 2007-2014. PennWell Corporation, Tulsa, OK. All Rights Reserved.PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS AND CONDITIONS