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PLoS One. 2017 Jul 20;12(7):e0181727. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181727. eCollection 2017.

Electrically controlled cloud of bulk nanobubbles in water solutions.

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Yaroslavl Branch of the Institute of Physics and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciencies, Yaroslavl, Russia.
Department of Physics, P. G. Demidov Yaroslavl State University, Yaroslavl, Russia.
Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Using different experimental techniques we visualize a cloud of gas in water that is produced electrochemically by the alternating polarity process. Liquid enriched with gas does not contain bubbles strongly scattering visible light but its refractive index changes significantly near the electrodes. The change of the refractive index is a collective effect of bulk nanobubbles with a diameter smaller than 200 nm. Any alternative explanation fails to explain the magnitude of the effect. Spatial structure of the cloud is investigated with the optical lever method. Its dynamics is visualised observing optical distortion of the electrode images or using differential interference contrast method. The cloud covers concentric electrodes, in a steady state it is roughly hemispherical with a size two times larger than the size of the electrode structure. When the electrical pulses are switched off the cloud disappears in less than one second. The total concentration of gases can reach very high value estimated as 3.5 × 1020 cm-3 that corresponds to an effective supersaturation of 500 and 150 for hydrogen and oxygen, respectively.

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