Laser-induced Crystallization of Supersaturated Urea Solutions

Bruce A. Garetz, Janice E. Aber, Noel L. Goddard, Rod G. Young, and Allan S. Myerson, Polytechnic Univ., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Supersaturated solutions and vapors contain an excess of dissolved or evaporated substances, and therefore are not thermodynamically stable. A slight perturbation, such as a knock or a dust particle, can cause such a solution to crystallize or vapor to condense. The study of the light-induced condensation of supersaturated vapors dates back to the work of Tyndall in the 1860s. More recent interest has involved laser-induced chemical vapor deposition and the precipitation of laser-induced "snow." In all these cases, the absorption of visible or ultraviolet light caused a photochemical reaction forming some new substance that acted as the nucleus for the growth of the condensed phase

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