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, 364 (6447), 1267-1271

Evolution of Large-Scale Flow From Turbulence in a Two-Dimensional Superfluid

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Evolution of Large-Scale Flow From Turbulence in a Two-Dimensional Superfluid

Shaun P Johnstone et al. Science.

Abstract

Nonequilibrium interacting systems can evolve to exhibit large-scale structure and order. In two-dimensional turbulent flow, the seemingly random swirling motion of a fluid can evolve toward persistent large-scale vortices. To explain such behavior, Lars Onsager proposed a statistical hydrodynamic model based on quantized vortices. Here, we report on the experimental confirmation of Onsager's model. We dragged a grid barrier through an oblate superfluid Bose-Einstein condensate to generate nonequilibrium distributions of vortices. We observed signatures of an inverse energy cascade driven by the evaporative heating of vortices, leading to steady-state configurations characterized by negative absolute temperatures. Our results open a pathway for quantitative studies of emergent structures in interacting quantum systems driven far from equilibrium.

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