Nanobubbles exist at solid-liquid interfaces between pure water and hydrophobic surfaces with very high stability, lasting in certain cases up to several days. Not only semispherical but also other shapes, such as micropancakes, are known to exist at such interfaces. However, doubt has been raised as to whether or not the nanobubbles are gas-phase entities. In this study, surface nanobubbles at a pure water-highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) interface were investigated by peak force quantitative nanomechanics (PF-QNM). Multiple isolated nanobubbles generated by the solvent-exchange method were present on the terraced areas, avoiding the steps of the HOPG surface. Adjacent nanobubbles coalesced and formed metastable nanobubbles. Coalescence was enhanced by the PF-QNM measurement. We determined that nanobubbles can exist for a long time because of nanoscale contact angle hysteresis at the water-HOPG interface. Moreover, the hydrophilic steps of HOPG were avoided during coalescence, providing evidence that the nanobubbles are truly gas phase.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces