New findings into nanobubbles could improve dental and other health treatments

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RESEARCH findings could improve experiences for dental patients after engineers have analysed how nanobubbles are generated.

The physics of how bubbles are generated is said to have a range of clinical and industrial applications.

The findings could also inform the development of other technologies – such as devices to selectively target tumour cells – that harness the energy released when the bubbles burst.

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(Photo by Rudi Fargo on Unsplash) The new findings could help make dental treatments better

Engineers at the University of Edinburgh ran complex supercomputer simulations to better understand the underlying mechanisms behind the formation of nanobubbles – which are tens of thousands of times smaller than a pinhead.

The team modelled the movement of individual molecules in a thin layer of water on a surface vibrating a million times faster than the flapping of a hummingbird’s wings.

Their analysis revealed that nanobubbles can form either when vibrations cause the water to boil, or when the water pressure drops to a point where liquid becomes vapour – a process called cavitation.

Saikat Datta, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, said: “We now have a better understanding of how vibrations at the smallest scale can be exploited to produce nanobubbles.

“This work has a broad scope for future research and will help researchers devise new experiments to shed further light on the generation of nanobubbles.”