Possible Visualization of a Superfluid Vortex Loop Attached to an Oscillating Beam


Visualization using tracer particles is a relatively new tool available for the study of superfluid turbulence and flow, which is applied here to oscillating objects submerged in the liquid. We report observations of a structure seen in videos taken from outside a cryostat filled with superfluid helium at 2 K, which is possibly a vortex loop attached to an oscillator. The feature, which has the shape of an incomplete arch, is visualized due to the presence of solid \(\mathrm{H}_2\) tracer particles and is attached to a beam oscillating at 38 Hz in the liquid. It has been recorded in videos taken at 240 frames per second, fast enough to take \({\sim }6\) images per period. This makes it possible to follow the structure, and to see that it is not rigid. It moves with respect to the oscillator, and its displacement is in phase with the velocity of the moving beam. Analyzing the motion, we come to the conclusion that we may be observing a superfluid vortex attached to the beam and decorated by the hydrogen particles. An alternative model, considering a solid hydrogen filament, has also been analyzed, but the observed phase between the movement of the beam and the filamentary structure is better explained by the superfluid vortex hypothesis.

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This work was partially supported by 06/C432 Grant from U.N. Cuyo and CONICET-Czech Academy of Sciences Scientific Cooperation agreement. J. L. would like to thank S. N. Fisher for a helpful discussion.

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Correspondence to E. Zemma.

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Zemma, E., Tsubota, M. & Luzuriaga, J. Possible Visualization of a Superfluid Vortex Loop Attached to an Oscillating Beam. J Low Temp Phys 179, 310–319 (2015).

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  • Quantum fluids
  • Superfluid helium
  • Flow visualization
  • Vortex loops