Nonphotochemical, polarization-dependent, laser-induced nucleation in supersaturated aqueous urea solutions

B. A. Garetz, J. E. Aber, N. L. Goddard, R. G. Young, A. S. Myerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We report a new photophysical phenomenon in which 1.06 μm pulses from a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser induce crystallization in supersaturated solutions of urea in water. Because the solutions are transparent at the incident wavelength, a photochemical mechanism is unlikely. The needle-shaped crystals that initially form tend to be aligned parallel to the electric field vector of the light, suggesting a Kerr-like field-induced alignment of urea molecules that aids in organizing prenucleating clusters. The effect has application to pump-probe nucleation studies and to clean nucleation in sealed systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3475-3476
Number of pages2
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this