Eddies is an exotic liquid. It is known as a superfluid merge to form large vortices. It is analogous to how cyclones form in the turbulent atmosphere.
University of Queensland, ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems and ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies scientists have found out emerging technological applications of superfluidity. This includes precision sensing.
The study can provide experimental validation of a 70-year-old theory. This is a model for two-dimensional vortex equilibrium by Nobel Laureate Lars Onsager.
Large, long-lived vortices like cyclones or Jupiter’s Great Red Spot often form out of turbulent fluid flows. This includes the atmospheres of planets.
Onsager’s model explains the existence of these structures. But the experiments of scientists have tended to conflict with the predictions.
A key complication is that most fluids are viscous. This means that they resist flow.
Superfluids have no viscosity. They are therefore ideal candidates to realize Onsager’s model.
Scientists studied the behavior of vortices in a superfluid known as a Bose–Einstein condensate. It is produced by cooling a gas of rubidium atoms to extremely cold temperatures.
Scientists created a thin disk of the superfluid. They then used lasers to inject vortices at carefully specified locations.
The vortices mixed rapidly. It merged into a single large cluster in only a few seconds. It is like a large cyclone forming from the turbulent atmosphere.
The most exciting thing was the remarkable agreement between theory and experiment. The theory predicted the shape of the final giant vortex structures in the superfluid exceptionally well.
The study suggested superfluids can be used to learn new things about turbulence. It will be important for the development of precision sensors based on superfluids.
The study answered some of the key outstanding questions from previous work by scientists on vortex clusters. The new study has been published in Physical Review X.