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Abstract

Nanofluidics involves the study of fluid transport in nanometer-scale structures. We report the direct observation of fluid dynamics in a single zinc oxide nanotube with the high spatial and temporal resolution of four-dimensional (4D) electron microscopy. The nanotube is filled with metallic lead, which we melt in situ with a temperature jump induced by a heating laser pulse. We then use a short electron pulse to create an image of the ensuing dynamics of the hot liquid. Single-shot images elucidate the mechanism of irreversible processes, whereas stroboscopic diffraction patterns provide the heating and cooling rates of single nanotubes. The temporal changes of the images enable studies of the viscous friction involved in the flow of liquid within the nanotube, as well as studies of mechanical processes such as those that result in the formation of extrusions.

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