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J Phys Chem B. 2007 Feb 15;111(6):1343-7. Epub 2007 Jan 25.

Free-radical generation from collapsing microbubbles in the absence of a dynamic stimulus.

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National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), 16-1 Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8569 Japan.


Free radicals are generated by the collapse of ultrasound-induced cavitation bubbles when they are forcefully compressed by dynamic stimuli. Radical generation occurs as a result of the extremely high temperatures induced by adiabatic compression during the violent collapse process. It is generally believed that extreme conditions are required for this type of radical generation. However, we have demonstrated free-radical generation from the collapse of microbubbles (diameter = <50 microm) in the absence of a harsh dynamic stimulus. In contrast to ultrasound-induced cavitation bubbles, which collapse violently after microseconds, the microbubbles collapsed softly under water after several minutes. Electron spin-resonance spectroscopy confirmed free-radical generation by the collapsing microbubbles. The increase of the surface charges (zeta potentials) of the microbubbles, which were measured during their collapse, supported the hypothesis that the significant increase in ion concentration around the shrinking gas-water interface provided the mechanism for radical generation. This technique of radical generation from collapsing microbubbles could be employed in numerous engineering applications, including wastewater treatment.


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