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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Vaporizable endoskeletal droplets via tunable interfacial melting transitions


Liquid emulsion droplet evaporation is of importance for various sensing and imaging applications. The liquid-to-gas phase transformation is typically triggered thermally or acoustically by low-boiling point liquids, or by inclusion of solid structures that pin the vapor/liquid contact line to facilitate heterogeneous nucleation. However, these approaches lack precise tunability in vaporization behavior. Here, we describe a previously unused approach to control vaporization behavior through an endoskeleton that can melt and blend into the liquid core to either enhance or disrupt cohesive intermolecular forces. This effect is demonstrated using perfluoropentane (C5F12) droplets encapsulating a fluorocarbon (FC) or hydrocarbon (HC) endoskeleton. FC skeletons inhibit vaporization, whereas HC skeletons trigger vaporization near the rotator melting transition. Our findings highlight the importance of skeletal interfacial mixing for initiating droplet vaporization. Tuning molecular interactions between the endoskeleton and droplet phase is generalizable for achieving emulsion or other secondary phase transitions, in emulsions.

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