SciPost Thesis Link

Title:  Quantum Analogues of Two-Dimensional Classical Turbulence
Author:  Matthew Reeves
As Contributor:   (not claimed)
Type: Ph.D.
Field: Physics
  • Quantum Physics
Approach: Theoretical
Degree granting institution:  University of Otago
Supervisor(s): Ashton Bradley, Blair Blakie
Defense date:  2018-01-01


Turbulence, the irregular motion of fluids, is a challenging problem in physics. Yet some properties of turbulence appear to be universal, independent of the underlying host fluid supporting the motion. Recent studies have found that turbulence in superfluid helium, a quantum fluid, exhibits two of the most fundamental laws of classical fluid turbulence: the Kolmogorov −5/3 law, and the dissipation anomaly. These laws appear despite the fluid being highly constrained by quantum mechanical effects, and completely lacking kinematic viscosity. Such findings suggest further insight into the universal features of turbulent phenomena can be gained by studying analogies between classical and quantum turbulence. Atomic Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) offer a new platform for the study of quantum turbulence; the geometric control available in BEC experiments offers the possibility of studying quantum turbulence in effectively two-dimensional fluids. As two-dimensional turbulence exhibits dramatically different features from its 3D counterpart, BEC systems allow for further study of the analogies between classical and quantum turbulence. In this thesis we numerically and theoretically study 2D quantum turbulence in BECs within the framework of the Gross-Pitaevskii model. We focus on analogies with classical 2D turbulence, with the aim of identifying common or universal features. First we investigate coherent vortex structures in negative temperature equilibria via an experimentally accessible flow-field measure. Coherent vortices are shown to produce a clear signal in this measure that is independent of the confinement geometry, and we demonstrate that it can be observed in dynamical simulations. Second, studying a quantum analogue of the two-dimensional cylinder wake, we investigate the phenomenon of Strouhal oscillations. We find that the Strouhal number obeys a universal relation, similar to the classical form, upon introducing a modified superfluid Reynolds number that accounts for the critical velocity for vortex nucleation. Like the classical Reynolds number, the superfluid Reynolds number is found to govern the transition from laminar to turbulent behaviour in the quantum fluid. Finally, simulating decaying 2D quantum turbulence for very large vortex numbers, we show that quantum fluids are capable of supporting the direct enstrophy cascade, a fundamental feature of two-dimensional turbulent flows. The quantum fluid manifests key features of the classical cascade, including Batchelor’s −3 law of the inertial range, scaling of the inertial range against the superfluid Reynolds number, and the value of the Kraichnan-Batchelor constant. The findings from this work thus provide some new insight into the universality of fundamental turbulence concepts, and their applicability to quantum fluids.

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