A laser-driven optical atomizer: photothermal generation and transport of zeptoliter-droplets along a carbon nanotube deposited hollow optical fiber

Hyeonwoo Lee, Mikko Partanen, Mingyu Lee, Sunghoon Jeong, Hyeung Joo Lee, Kwanpyo Kim, Wonhyoung Ryu, Kishan Dholakia, Kyunghwan Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

From mechanical syringes to electric field-assisted injection devices, precise control of liquid droplet generation has been sought after, and the present state-of-the-art technologies have provided droplets ranging from nanoliter to subpicoliter volume sizes. In this study, we present a new laser-driven method to generate liquid droplets with a zeptoliter volume, breaking the fundamental limits of previous studies. We guided an infrared laser beam through a hollow optical fiber (HOF) with a ring core whose end facet was coated with single-walled carbon nanotubes. The laser light was absorbed by this nanotube film and efficiently generated a highly localized microring heat source. This evaporated the liquid inside the HOF, which rapidly recondensed into zeptoliter droplets in the surrounding air at room temperature. We spectroscopically confirmed the chemical structures of the liquid precursor maintained in the droplets by atomizing dye-dissolved glycerol. Moreover, we explain the fundamental physical principles as well as functionalities of the optical atomizer and perform a detailed characterization of the droplets. Our approach has strong prospects for nanoscale delivery of biochemical substances in minuscule zeptoliter volumes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5138-5146
Number of pages9
JournalNanoscale
Volume14
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar 18

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. 2019R1A2C2011293) and University of Sydney – Yonsei University Partnership Collaboration Awards. M. P. acknowledges European Union's Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) individual fellowship under Contract No. 846218. KD thanks the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for funding (grant EP/P030017/1). H. Lee thanks Dr Yangjin Lee, Mr Jun-Yeong Yoon, and Mr Joong-Eon Jung for helpful discussion.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)

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