Microfluidic Laser-Induced Nucleation of Supersaturated Aqueous KCl Solutions

Tianyi Hua, Omar Gowayed, Danielle Grey-Stewart, Bruce A. Garetz, Ryan L. Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A microfluidic device was designed and fabricated for non-photochemical laser-induced nucleation (NPLIN) in continuous laminar flow, which enabled real-time in situ characterization of crystal size, shape, growth, and polydispersity. On-chip thermoelectric cooling created supersaturation by lowering the solution temperature. The influences of laser power density, laser exposure time, flow rate, and supersaturation were examined for aqueous KCl solutions. The observed threshold peak power densities and solution labilities agreed with those reported by Alexander et al. using static cells. The mean crystal size just downstream from the irradiated region was observed to increase with increasing supersaturation. The number of crystals nucleated was found to increase with increasing supersaturation and laser power density but was independent of the number of laser pulses to which the solution was exposed. These results are consistent with the dielectric polarization model of Alexander et al. Our findings broaden the scope of nucleation in a light field by introducing a way to directly characterize the crystallization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3491-3497
Number of pages7
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 5 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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