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Jumping Nanodroplets

Science  23 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5743, pp. 2043-2045
DOI: 10.1126/science.1116505

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Abstract

Flat gold nanostructures on inert substrates like glass or graphite were illuminated by single intensive laser pulses with fluences above the gold melting threshold. The liquid structures produced in this way are far from their equilibrium shape, and a dewetting process sets in. On a time scale of a few nanoseconds, the liquid contracted toward a sphere. During this contraction, the center of mass moved upward, which could lead to detachment of droplets from the surface due to inertia. The resulting velocities were on the order of 10 meters per second for droplets with radii in the range of 100 nanometers.

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