Researchers develop new method for detecting superfluid motion

A group of scientists, led by Associate Professor Mishkat Battacharya, proposed a new method to detect superfluid movement in an article published in Physical Review Letters. Credit: Rochester Institute of Technology
Researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology are part of a new study that could help unlock the potential of superfluidsessentially frictionless special substances capable of unstopped motion once initiated. Mishkat Bhattacharya is an associate professor at RIT's School of Physics and Astronomy and Future Photon Initiative. She proposed a new method to detect superfluid movement in an article published by Physical Review Letters.

Scientists have created superfluids from liquids, solids and gases before. They hope that harnessing superfluids’ properties will lead to the discovery of superconductors that work at room temperature. Bhattacharya stated that such a breakthrough could revolutionize electronics industry where energy loss due to resistive heating can lead to high costs.

One of the biggest problems in superfluid research is the slow motion of superfluids. Bhattacharya's postdoctoral team at RIT teamed up to develop a new detection technique that is in-situ and in real time.

Bhattacharya stated that the new technique was inspired by Einstein's techniques for detecting gravitational waves. It is possible to transmit laser light through the superfluid rotating. The light that emerges would pick up a modulation at superfluid rotation frequency. This frequency was detected using existing technology, which gave rise to knowledge about the superfluid movement. The team had to make sure the laser beam didn't disturb superflow. They did this by selecting a wavelength that was different from the one that would be absorbed into the atoms.

Bhattacharya stated that the proposed method was the first to allow for minimally destructive measurements and is one thousand times more sensitive than other available techniques. This is an exciting development as optics and atomic superflow combine to offer new possibilities in information processing and sensing.

Bhattacharya and colleagues also demonstrated that supercurrents could be actively controlled by the light beam. They showed that light can create quantum entanglement between currents in the same gas. This could be used to store and process quantum information.

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Pardeep Kumar and colleagues, Cavity Optomechanical Sensorsing, Manipulation, and Manipulation, Atomic Persistent Currents, Physical Review Letters (2021). Information from the Journal: Physical Review Letters Pardeep Kumar and colleagues, Cavity Optomechanical Sensorsing and Manipulation a Atomic Persistent current, (2021). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.127.113601