Exotic states of matter mix to form fanciful shapes in supercomputer simulations
Quantum fluids may mix in very weird ways, according to new computer simulations of exotic states of matter known as Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs).
Sort of looks like a frog, right? Researchers at The Ohio State University and their colleagues are using a supercomputer to simulate what happens when two exotic superfluids mix. The simulations have produced some unusual shapes, including 'mushrooms' and this frog-like shape.
Credit: Image by Kui-Tian Xi, courtesy of The Ohio State University. [K.-T. Xi et al., Phys. Rev. A (2018)]
Far in the future, BECs may enable new kinds of ultra-fast computers. But for now, researchers are just trying to understand the basic physics of how they work.
That's what an Ohio State University visiting scholar in the Department of Physics, Kui-Tian Xi, and his colleagues were doing when they used a supercomputer to simulate what would happen if someone mixed two magnetically polarized BECs.
Snapshots from the simulations, published in the journal Physical Review A, resemble ink blot tests that can be interpreted in any number of ways. As one fluid percolated up through the other, Xi first saw the blobs form a turtle (that is, a pattern with six finger-like shapes that looked like a head, tail and four legs, similar to a turtle), then a frog (back legs akimbo) and finally an explosion of mushroom shapes.
It might not have been exactly what he expected, but Xi said he wasn't all that surprised, either.
"To be honest, I did expect that I may see some interesting dynamical properties. But when I first saw the turtle, I thought I might have calculated the parameters of the simulation wrong," he said. "Then I realized there might be some kind of instability at the interface of the fluids, just like those of classical fluids."
Bose Einstein Condensates are gases made of atoms that are so cold, all of their motion nearly ceases. As the Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein predicted in the 1920s--and experiments eventually proved in the 1990s--BECs display strange properties because all the atoms occupy the same quantum state.
As such, BECs are superfluids. They are supposed to be frictionless, so they should flow together with zero viscosity. Yet, when Xi adjusted parameters of the simulation, such as the strength of the magnetic interactions, the two fluids mixed as if one was more viscous than the other--the way viscous hot wax bobs through less viscous water inside a lava lamp.
Xi and his colleagues, including Hiroki Saito, study leader and professor of engineering science at the University of Electro-Communications in Japan, believe that the simulations offer clues to phenomena that physicists have seen in actual experiments. Under certain circumstances, BECs do seem to behave like normal matter.
In particular, Xi points to recent numerical simulations at Newcastle University where another superfluid, liquid helium, formed waves of turbulence as it flowed over the rough surface of a wire.
The cause of the strange simulated BEC behavior remains to be seen, but Xi said that current technology would allow experimental physicists to conduct the experiment for real. As a theorist, though, he's going to focus on the possible implications of an increasing connection between the behavior of quantum and classical fluids.
Xi and Saito co-authored the study with Tim Byrnes of New York University Shanghai. Their work was mainly funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and they performed their simulations on the Prince computer cluster at New York University.
Contact: Kui-Tian Xi, email@example.com
[Editor's note: After May 1, 2018, Xi can be reached at New York University Shanghai at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Pam Frost Gorder | EurekAlert!
On Mars, sands shift to a different drum
24.05.2019 | University of Arizona
New Boost for ToCoTronics
23.05.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.
The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...
Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.
The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2019 | Life Sciences