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Hydrodynamic instabilities and photochemical reactions


Although many photochemical structures obtained in irradiated solutions have been investigated recently1–4, the origin of these patterns has remained unclear. Evidence has been presented which suggests that these structures are due to evaporative cooling. Using the Schlieren technique, photographs of prepatterns have been obtained before illumination and we show here that these prepatterns are associated with convective motions in the bulk. As a result, the hydrodynamic motions must be given proper consideration in the interpretation of spatio-temporal chemical patterns. The photochemical reaction also provides a useful way of visualizing slow convective motions.

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Micheau, J., Gimenez, M., Borckmans, P. et al. Hydrodynamic instabilities and photochemical reactions. Nature 305, 43–45 (1983).

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