Europhys. Lett.
Volume 65, Number 3, February 2004
Page(s) 337 - 343
Section Electromagnetism, optics, acoustics, heat transfer, classical mechanics, and fluid dynamics
Published online 01 January 2004
Europhys. Lett., 65 (3) , pp. 337-343 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-10097-y

Laser-sustained liquid bridges

A. Casner and J.-P. Delville

Centre de Physique Moléculaire Optique et Hertzienne, UMR CNRS/Université 5798 Université Bordeaux I - 351 Cours de la Libération, F-33405 Talence cedex, France

(Received 14 October 2003; accepted 25 November 2003)

The stabilization of free-standing liquid bridges encounters a fundamental limitation associated to the Rayleigh-Plateau instability. Classically in weightless conditions, a liquid column breaks when its length exceeds its circumference. We overcome this fundamental limitation using a new technique, based on the optical-radiation pressure of a continuous laser wave, to form and stabilize pure dielectric bridges far beyond the instability onset. Since control over aspect ratio and orientation are simply realized by adjusting the waist and the direction of the exciting laser, these laser-sustained liquid columns also behave as reconfigurable optical waveguides and provide an appealing example of self-adapted optical microsystem based on microfluidics.

47.20.Ma - Interfacial instability.
87.50.Hj - Optical radiation (near ultraviolet, visible, and infrared).
82.70.Kj - Emulsions and suspensions.

© EDP Sciences 2004