New research, using computer models of wave chaos, has shown that three-dimensional tangled vortex filaments can in fact be knotted in many highly complex ways.
The computer experiments, by academics at the University of Bristol, give rise to a huge variety of different knots, realising many that have been tabulated by pure mathematicians working in the field of knot theory.
Tangled quantum vortices. Each vortex line is shaded in a different color, and may be knotted or linked with the others.
Credit: School of Physics © University of Bristol
Waves surround us all the time: sound waves in the noise around us, light waves enabling us to see, and according to quantum mechanics, all matter has a wave nature. Most of these waves, however, do not resemble the regular train of waves at the shore of the ocean -- the pattern is much more chaotic.
Most significantly, the whirls and eddies form lines in space called vortices. Along these lines, the wave intensity is zero, and natural wave fields - light, sound and quantum matter - are filled with a dense tangle of these null filaments.
Mark Dennis, Professor of Theoretical Physics in the School of Physics, said: "Although the computer models were framed in the language of quantum waves, these results are expected to be completely general, suggesting a new understanding of the complexity of the three-dimensional optical and acoustic landscapes that surround us every day."
More than 40 years ago, Bristol physicians Professor Sir Michael Berry and Professor John Nye discovered vortices were originally understood to be a crucial part of wave phenomena.
This work is part of the Scientific Properties of Complex Knots (SPOCK) project, a collaboration between the Universities of Bristol and Durham. The aim of the project is to create new computational tools and mathematical techniques for the analysis, synthesis and exploitation of knotted structures in a wide range of complex physical phenomena.
The research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is published today in Nature Communications.
'Vortex knots in tangled quantum eigenfunctions' by Alexander J Taylor and Mark R Dennis in Nature Communications
Joanne Fryer | EurekAlert!
New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective
14.12.2017 | The Optical Society
New ultra-thin diamond membrane is a radiobiologist's best friend
14.12.2017 | American Institute of Physics
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences