Chemical separations by bubble-assisted interphase mass-transfer
We show that when a small amount of heat is added close to a liquid-vapor interface of a captive gas bubble in a microchannel, interphase mass-transfer through the bubble can occur in a controlled manner with only a slight change in the temperature of the fluid. We demonstrate that this method, which we refer to as bubble-assisted interphase mass-transfer (BAIM), can be applied to interphase chemical separations, e.g., simple distillation, without the need for high temperatures, vacuum, or active cooling. Although any source of localized heating could be used, we illustrate BAIM with an all-optical technique that makes use of the plasmon resonance in an array of nanoscale metal structures that are incorporated into the channel to produce localized heating of the fluid when illuminated by a stationary low-power laser. © 2008 American Chemical Society.