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Visualization Technique for Determining the Structure Functions of Normal-Fluid Turbulence in Superfluid Helium-4


Metastable helium molecules have been shown to be ideal tracers for the study of normal-fluid flow in superfluid 4He above 1 K. These molecules can be visualized using a laser-induced-fluorescence technique. In order to extract quantitative information of the flow field, practical techniques need to be developed to study the density evolution of the molecules with a well defined initial distribution. In an on-going experiment, we use a focused femtosecond laser pulse to create a thin line of \(\mathrm{He}^{*}_{2}\) molecules in liquid helium. Such a line of molecules can be easily imaged. Studying the drift and distortion of the molecular line in a turbulent flow shall allow us to measure the instantaneous flow velocity field and hence determine the structure functions of the normal-fluid turbulence.

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We would like to thank A.I. Golov, P.M.Walmsley, D.E. Zmeev, P.V.E. McClintock, and S.N. Fisher for helpful discussions. We also thank G. Labbe for his help on building and operating the cryostat. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, through the Materials World Network program, Grant No. DMR-1007974 and Grant No. DMR-1007937.

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Correspondence to W. Guo.

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Guo, W., McKinsey, D.N., Marakov, A. et al. Visualization Technique for Determining the Structure Functions of Normal-Fluid Turbulence in Superfluid Helium-4. J Low Temp Phys 171, 497–503 (2013).

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  • Quantum turbulence
  • Visualization
  • Helium molecules
  • Femtosecond laser
  • Structure functions
  • Energy spectrum