What is it about?

Quantum vortices are the fundamental and quantized modes of rotation of fluids such as optical fields or Bose Einstein condensates and superconductors. Here we study the dynamics of a pair of such vortices in a polariton fluid when increasing the fluid density and so increasing the nonlinear potential energy stored in the fluid.

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Why is it important?

In the hydrodynamics limit the size of the vortex is small with respect to the whole fluid or to the distance between vortices. It makes out that they can be treated as point-like particles which can then interact between them as they would be particles. In such way the elementary pair interactions between two vortices can affect the dynamics of an ensemble of many vortices and results in different macroscopic phases or overall lattices of vortices. The spin degree of freedom of a vector field adds both a quantum number to the particle-like vortices and a further polarization texture to the whole fluid.


We verified the presence of a possible and unexpected attractive term in addition to the repulsive one in the pair interactions between two vortices. These could be verified both microscopically in other quantum fluids systems or macroscopically by looking at the long range phases or distributions, such as vortex lattices or stripes and so on, and by numerical simulations. The comparison of the overall intervortex pair potential could be compared to Lennard-Jones like potential for speculative research on the origin of fundamental particles.

Dr Lorenzo Dominici
CNR NANOTEC, Institute of Nanotechnology

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Interactions and scattering of quantum vortices in a polariton fluid, Nature Communications, April 2018, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03736-5.
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