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Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Oct 22;87(17):176104. Epub 2001 Oct 8.

Images of nanobubbles on hydrophobic surfaces and their interactions.

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  • 1Ian Wark Research Institute, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes SA 5095 Australia.


Imaging of hydrophobic surfaces in water with tapping mode atomic force microscopy reveals them to be covered with soft domains, apparently nanobubbles, that are close packed and irregular in cross section, have a radius of curvature of the order of 100 nm, and a height above the substrate of 20-30 nm. Complementary force measurements show features seen in previous measurements of the long-range hydrophobic attraction, including a jump into a soft contact and a prejump repulsion. The distance of the jump is correlated with the height of the images. The morphology of the nanobubbles and the time scale for their formation suggest the origin of their stability.

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