(387g) Nanoemulsions Obtained Via Bubble Bursting at a Compound Interface
The bursting of bubbles at an air/liquid interface is a familiar occurrence important to foam stability, cell cultures in bioreactors and mass transfer between the sea and atmosphere. In the latter case, bubble bursting leads to the dispersal of sea-water aerosols in the surrounding air. Here we document the hitherto unreported formation and dispersal into the water column of submicrometre oil droplets following bubble bursting at a compound air/oil/water-with-surfactant interface. We show that dispersal results from the detachment of an oil spray from the bottom of the bubble towards water during bubble collapse. We provide evidence that droplet size is selected by physicochemical interactions between oil molecules and the surfactants rather than by hydrodynamic effects. We demonstrate the unrecognized role that this dispersal mechanism may play in the fate of the sea surface micro-layer and of pollutant spills by dispersing petroleum in the water column. Finally, our system provides an energy-efficient route, with potential upscalability and wide applicability, for applications in drug delivery, food production and material science, which we illustrate by producing polymeric nanoparticles.