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Issue 41, 2019
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Using optical tweezing to control phase separation and nucleation near a liquid–liquid critical point

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Abstract

About 20 years ago, it was shown that lasers can nucleate crystals in super-saturated solutions and might even be able to select the polymorph that crystallises. However, no theoretical model was found explaining the results and progress was slowed down. Here we show that laser-induced nucleation may be understood in terms of the harnessing of concentration fluctuations near a liquid–liquid critical point using optical tweezing in a process called laser-induced phase separation (LIPS) and LIPS and nucleation (LIPSaN). A theoretical model is presented based on the regular solution model with an added term representing optical tweezing while the dynamics are modelled using a Kramers diffusion equation, and the roles of heat diffusion and thermophoresis are evaluated. LIPS and LIPSaN experiments were carried out on a range of liquid mixtures and the results compared to theory.

Graphical abstract: Using optical tweezing to control phase separation and nucleation near a liquid–liquid critical point

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Jun 2019, accepted on 03 Oct 2019 and first published on 04 Oct 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9SM01297D
Soft Matter, 2019,15, 8279-8289
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Using optical tweezing to control phase separation and nucleation near a liquid–liquid critical point

    F. Walton and K. Wynne, Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 8279
    DOI: 10.1039/C9SM01297D

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