Real-time observation of jumping and spinning nanodroplets
Our manuscript entitled 'Real-time observation of jumping and spinning nanodroplets' has been accepted for publication in Structural Dynamics.
The manipulation of liquids at nanoscale dimensions is a central goal of the emergent nanofluidics field. Such endeavors extend to nanodroplets, which are ubiquitous objects involved in many technological applications. Here, we employ time-resolved electron microscopy to elucidate the formation of so-called jumping nanodroplets on a graphene surface. We flash-melt a thin gold nanostructure with a laser pulse and directly observe how the resulting nanodroplet contracts into a sphere and jumps off its substrate, a process that occurs in just a few nanoseconds. Our study provides the first experimental characterization of these morphological dynamics through real-time observation and reveals new aspects of the phenomenon. We observe that friction alters the trajectories of individual droplets. Surprisingly, this leads some droplets to adopt dumbbell-shaped geometries after they jump, suggesting that they spin with considerable angular momentum. Our experiments open up new avenues for studying and controlling the fast morphological dynamics of nanodroplets through their interaction with structured surfaces.