OPTICAL-FIBER-BASED LASER-INDUCED CAVITATION FOR DYNAMIC MECHANICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF SOFT MATERIALS
Professor Jae-Hwang Lee, Chair
Professor Tingyi Liu, Member
Professor Jinglei Ping, Member
In the laser-induced cavitation (LIC) technique, a vapor-gas cavity is generated in water, or a soft material by focusing an intense laser pulse into the sample. The high-strain-rate mechanical properties of these samples can be investigated through a real-time size measurement of the expanding cavity bubble. Although this LIC technique has been applied to multiple research fields such as mechanical, biological and medical areas. It is possible to simplify and improve this LIC method by introducing optical-fibers. In this approach, we propose to employ an optical-fiber to deliver the intense laser pulse to an arbitrary position of an optical opaque specimen. At the same time, we also attempt to generate LIC at one end of the optical-fiber. This optical-fiber based LIC is achieved by dip-coating of the laser absorbing film on the fiber end. Thus, the film can absorb the laser pulse and generate LIC within the sample.
In this study, the development of the coating material, the introduction of the optical-fiber into the existing LIC system, and the optical-fiber based LIC experiments are performed to characterize high-strain-rate mechanical properties of soft materials. We investigate the coating conditions and verify the consistency of the ablation based on the optimized coating materials. By conducting LIC experiments with gelatin samples, the feasibility of developed LIC method is investigated, LIC events are successfully formed at the fiber end, which is inserted into the sample, and the rapid expanding dynamics are imaged with ultrafast stroboscopic microscopy. Using the multiple-exposure images, the expanding speeds and maximum cavity sizes are quantified to provide high-strain-rate characteristics of the soft materials. The inconsistency of the cavitation behavior resulted by the fluctuation of the coating condition and the high power intense laser conducting optical-fiber destruction can be improved by developing new coating method and new protective coating on the fiber end in the future.