Scientists from Osaka Metropolitan University, in collaboration with researchers from Florida State University and Keio University, have made significant progress in understanding the interaction between a quantized vortex and a normal fluid. This investigation focused on liquid helium-4, which exhibits superfluid properties at extremely low temperatures.
Quantized vortices, peculiar vortex structures arising from quantum mechanical effects, play a crucial role in this research. When the temperature is relatively high, both the superfluid helium and the normal fluid coexist. When a quantized vortex moves within the system, a phenomenon called mutual friction occurs between the vortex and the normal fluid. However, explaining the precise nature of this interaction has been a longstanding challenge, with several theoretical models proposed but no consensus reached.
To tackle this mystery, the research team, led by Professor Makoto Tsubota and Specially Appointed Assistant Professor Satoshi Yui, employed numerical simulations to investigate the interaction between the quantized vortex and the normal fluid. By comparing their numerical results with experimental data, the scientists aimed to identify the most consistent theoretical model.
The team’s analysis revealed that a model incorporating changes in the normal fluid and integrating more theoretically accurate mutual friction best matched the experimental findings. This discovery, published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, represents a breakthrough in understanding the complex dynamics between quantized vortices and normal fluids.
Professor Tsubota expressed his excitement, stating, “The interaction between a quantized vortex and a normal fluid has been a fascinating enigma since the beginning of my research journey four decades ago. Thanks to advancements in computational techniques and the exceptional visualization experiment conducted by our collaborators at Florida State University, we have made a significant breakthrough. This study exemplifies how technological advancements can shed light on longstanding scientific mysteries.”
This research not only provides valuable insights into the behavior of quantized vortices but also demonstrates the power of interdisciplinary collaboration and the synergy between computational modeling and experimental investigations.
Source: Osaka Metropolitan University