A. Miniewicz, S. Bartkiewicz, H. Orlikowska & K. Dradrach
In the report we demonstrate how, using laser light, effectively trap gas bubbles and transport them through a liquid phase to a desired destination by shifting the laser beam position. The physics underlying the effect is complex but quite general as it comes from the limited to two-dimension, well-known, Marangoni effect. The experimental microscope-based system consists of a thin layer of liquid placed between two glass plates containing a dye dissolved in a solvent and a laser light beam that is strongly absorbed by the dye. This point-like heat source locally changes surface tension of nearby liquid-air interface. Because of temperature gradients a photo-triggered Marangoni flows are induced leading to self-amplification of the effect and formation of large-scale whirls. The interface is bending toward beam position allowing formation of a gas bubble upon suitable beam steering. Using various techniques (employing luminescent particles or liquid crystals), we visualize liquid flows propelled by the tangential to interface forces. This helped us to understand the physics of the phenomenon and analyze accompanying effects leading to gas bubble trapping. The manipulation of sessile droplets moving on the glass surface induced via controlled with laser light interface bending (i.e. “droplet catapult”) is demonstrated as well.