Thin liquid films, such as soap bubbles, have been studied extensively for over a century because they are easily formed and mediate a wide range of transport processes in physics, chemistry and engineering. When a bubble on a liquid-gas or solid-gas interface (referred to herein as an interfacial bubble) ruptures, the general expectation is that the bubble vanishes. More precisely, the ruptured thin film is expected to retract rapidly until it becomes part of the interface, an event that typically occurs within milliseconds. The assumption that ruptured bubbles vanish is central to theories on foam evolution and relevant to health and climate because bubble rupture is a source for aerosol droplets. Here we show that for a large range of fluid parameters, interfacial bubbles can create numerous small bubbles when they rupture, rather than vanishing. We demonstrate, both experimentally and numerically, that the curved film of the ruptured bubble can fold and entrap air as it retracts. The resulting toroidal geometry of the trapped air is unstable, leading to the creation of a ring of smaller bubbles. The higher pressure associated with the higher curvature of the smaller bubbles increases the absorption of gas into the liquid, and increases the efficiency of rupture-induced aerosol dispersal.
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