Research Highlight

Nanobubbles on aluminum

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.93 Published online 31 March 2009

Nanobubbles of neon (Ne), a rare gas, can now be implanted on aluminum surface1, an advancement that has technologically importance in the realm of fission reactors.

The reason for interest in rare gas bubbles arises from the different interesting physical phenomena they exhibit. For instance, the bubbles can be in solid state even at room temperature, they are over-pressurized, form at high mass densities, and can be superheated.

For the study, the researchers implanted neon ions on clean aluminum surface at extremely low pressure and temperature slightly higher than room temperature. Neon nanobubbles grew via thermally activated processes such as thermal vacancy absorption. One population of the nanobubbles formed close below the surface (subsurface) and the other deeper (beneath subsurface).

Sophisticated imaging techniques revealed bubbles of about 13 Angstrom in radius were in a fluid state. Such deposition of rare gas nanobubbles is technologically interesting for integrated circuits, ion beam milling of layered structures and growth of thin films, the researchers say.


  1. Dhaka, S. R. et al. Bimodal distribution of neon nanobubbles in aluminum. Phys. Rev. B. 79, 125409 (2009) | Article |