Shining a tightly-focussed but low-powered laser beam on an absorber dispersed in a biological fluid gives rise to spectacular growth of dendritic patterns. These result from localized drying of the fluid because of efficient absorption and conduction of optical energy by the absorber. We have carried out experiments in several biologically relevant fluids and have analysed patterns generated by different types of absorbers. We observe that the growth velocity of branches in the dendritic patterns can decrease below the value expected for natural drying.
Volume 96, 2022
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