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PHYSICAL REVIEW B 75, 212502 2007

Collision of a tracer particle and a quantized vortex in superuid helium: Self-consistent calculations
Demosthenes Kivotides,1 Carlo F. Barenghi,2 and Yuri A. Sergeev3
for Risk Studies and Safety, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93117, USA 2 School of Mathematics, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, United Kingdom 3School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, United Kingdom Received 14 May 2007; published 7 June 2007 Recent experiments have shown that micron-size particles can be trapped in quantized vortices in superuid helium. We present results of a dynamically self-consistent calculation of the nonlinear interaction of a sphere and a vortex. We nd that, depending on the regime, the sphere can be trapped in the vortex or break free from it. We also nd that, if trapped, the sphere can travel along the vortex. We analyze the role played by the various forces acting on the sphere during the interaction. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.75.212502 PACS number s : 67.40.Vs, 47.27. i, 47.37. q

The study of superuid turbulence1 has been held back over the years by the lack of good ow visualization at liquid helium temperatures near absolute zero. The contrast between the great number of techniques available in ordinary uids dye, kalliroscope akes, laser Doppler, hot wires, shadowgraphy, Bakers pH method, ultrasound, particle image velocimetry, etc. and the few techniques which exist in liquid helium second sound attenuation, temperature gradients and the ion method in 4He, NMR, and Andreev scattering in 3He is striking. Worse, liquid helium techniques tend to probe the entire experimental cell and do not easily provide information about ow patterns and turbulent uctuations. Fortunately, the situation is changing. Small, local probes suitable for high Reynolds numbers in liquid helium are being developed and the particle image velocimetry technique has been recently successfully implemented in liquid helium.2 In particular, the recent work by Bewley et al.3 has shown that micron-size tracer particles become trapped onto quantized vortices, so they can be used to directly visualize individual vortex lines. Stimulated by this result, our aim is to investigate the interaction between tracer particles which we model as spheres and quantized vortices, determine if trapping can indeed take place, and explore the role played by the various forces in the spherevortex collision. Conceptually, this is a simple problem of uid dynamics: the mutual interaction of a vortex lament of innitesimal thickness and a moving sphere in a perfect Euler uid. The problem is poorly understood, however, because unlike the pinning of vortices on xed boundary imperfections,4 it is highly nonlinear: The vortex is severely deformed by the approaching sphere it forms regions of high curvature and, if the sphere reconnects to the vortex, it splits into two at the same time as it exerts forces which greatly affect the spheres motion. The problem is related to the trapping of positive or negative ions onto quantized vortices,5 but there is an important physical difference: the radius of our sphere 104 cm is 4 orders of magnitude greater than the vortex core radius approximately 108 cm , whereas the radiis of positive and negative ions 6 108 and 19 108 cm, respectively are comparable to the vortex core. Thus, the ion-vortex interaction is best modeled using the Gross-Pitaevskii equation for a
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Bose-Einstein condensate.5 For tracer particles, we assume the vortex lament model6 and represent the vortex as a space curve X s , t of innitesimal thickness, where t is time and s arclength, which moves according to7 dX = Vs + Vb + V + V f . dt 1

Here, Vs is the self-induced velocity of the vortex resulting from its curved shape according to the Biot-Savart law; Vb arises from the boundary condition that the component of the superuid velocity which is perpendicular to the surface S of the sphere is zero at S, and is obtained by solving a suitable Laplace equation in terms of associated Legendre functions; V is the potential superow induced by the moving sphere; and nally, V f is due to the friction8 between the vortex and the thermal excitations which make up the normal uid component of helium II. Let a p, p, m = 4 pa3 / 3, r p t , and v p t be the radius, p density, mass, position, and velocity of the sphere. We assume that the sphere is neutrally buoyant, p = , where = s + n and s and n are the superuid and normal uid densities. The motion of the sphere is determined by dr p / dt = v p and mef f dv p = f = fd + ft + fb , dt 2

where mef f = m + 2 a3 / 3. The total force f is decomposed p into drag, local, and boundary contributions: fd = 6 a p ft = 2 Vn v p ,
3 sa p

3 4

Vs , t

fb =

Vs + Vb 2ndS,

where Vn is the normal uid velocity, is the viscosity, and n is the unit radial vector pointing out of the surface S of the sphere. The numerical method used to integrate self-consistently
2007 The American Physical Society


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PHYSICAL REVIEW B 75, 212502 2007









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FIG. 3. Color online Balance of forces relative to Fig. 1: relative importance of local force f t top , boundary force f b middle , and drag force f d bottom compared to the total force f = ft + fb + fd .


FIG. 1. Color online Interaction of a sphere and a vortex. The sphere has initial velocity v p 0 = 0 and moves from the left to the right. The calculation is performed in a box of size L = 0.002 cm. Left: At t = 0. Middle: At t = 0.1301 102 s, after the collision. Right: At t = 0.2482 102 s; the trapped sphere drifts along the vortex.

108 s, and the angle between the superuid velocity and the radial unit vector a quantity which describes how well the boundary condition is satised always differs from 90 by less than one-tenth of a degree; this precision is achieved by using between 15 and 75 Legendre functions. In all calculations, we assume that the radius of the sphere is a p = 104 cm, typical of the experiments. At this stage of investigation, we are not interested in temperature dependent effects, but only in the fundamental interaction between the sphere and the vortex. Ideally, we would like to perform the

Eqs. 1 and 2 will be described elsewhere.7 Here, it sufces to say that the typical discretization along the vortex is s 1.56 105 cm, the typical time step is t = 3.15



0.001 00



1.2 -6 -3 0

FIG. 2. Color online Projection of the coordinates x p, y p of the center of the captured sphere in units of 105 and 104 cm, respectively as a function of time on the xy plane, relative to Fig. 1.

FIG. 4. Color online Spheres kinetic energy in units of 109 erg vs time in seconds relative to Fig. 1. Note the oscillations induced by the Kelvin waves at the end of the sequence, when the sphere moves along the vortex. Most of the energy arises from the oscillations in the xy plane rather than the drifting motion along z.



PHYSICAL REVIEW B 75, 212502 2007



FIG. 5. Color online Interaction of a sphere and a vortex. The sphere moves from the right to the left; its initial velocity and distance from the vortex are, respectively, v p 0 = 200 cm/ s and v p 0 . Top left: At t = 0.197 104 s. Top middle: At t = 0.212 104 s. Top right: At t = 0.220 104 s. Bottom left: At t = 0.2619 104 s. Bottom right: At t = 0.3180 104 s.




calculation at absolute zero in the absence of any dissipation. However, this would not be physically realistic, as scattering of phonons by the sphere is not negligible even at very low temperatures.9 We compromise by performing calculations at T = 1.3 K. This temperature is easy to achieve experimentally, but is sufciently low that friction does not play a crucial role and overdamps the motion of the sphere and the vortex. Moreover, since the normal uid fraction is only 4%, in Eq. 2 it is fair to neglect the inertial force on the sphere caused by the streaming of the normal ow around it and, in the same spirit, set Vn = 0 in Eq. 3 , thus neglecting any small local normal ow structure created by a vortex line in its motion.10 In the rst calculation see Fig. 1 , we consider a sphere initially at rest at distance 2a p from a straight vortex. As the sphere is attracted11 to the vortex and speeds up, the vortex bends to the side of the sphere until it reconnects with it,

splitting into two. The regions of high curvature of the vortex relax into traveling Kelvin waves which are not necessarily symmetric on the vortex strands on opposite sides of the sphere. Because of this asymmetry, a net momentum can be transferred to the trapped sphere, which slides along the vortex. As the sphere drifts away in the z direction with average velocity vdrift 0.5 cm/ s, it makes in the xy plane small oscillations of amplitude less than the spheres size induced by the Kelvin waves on the vortex Fig. 2 . If we model a Kelvin wave of amplitude A as a vortex ring of radius A and balance the momentum of the ring, of order s A2 being the quantum of circulation , with that of the sphere, mvdrift, we nd that A is about one quarter of the sphere size; since probably one to ten rings are necessary to model a Kelvin wave packet, this is in fair agreement with Fig. 2. We check that if the polarity of the vortex is reversed, the sphere drifts in the opposite direction.


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PHYSICAL REVIEW B 75, 212502 2007

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FIG. 6. Color online Relative magnitude of the forces fi i = d , t , b acting on the sphere relative to Fig. 5 vs time in units of 105 s . Top curve red : f d / f. Middle curve green : f b / f. Bottom curve blue : f t / f.

FIG. 7. Color online Spheres kinetic energy in units of 109 erg vs time in units of 105 s relative to Fig. 5.

Figure 3 shows the relative importance of the magnitude of the forces fd, fl, and fb acting on the sphere during the interaction, compared to the magnitude of the total force f. Initially, when both sphere and vortex are at rest, the boundary force fb is the most important, because it attracts the sphere. As the sphere accelerates toward the vortex, the main force balance is between the boundary force fb and the drag force fd. At the beginning of the interaction, the local force ft is negligible because the vortex moves slowly, but during the evolution, as the curvature increases, ft becomes stronger; after the reconnection of the vortex with the sphere, ft is dominant, and remains so, as the sphere drifts away, shaken by the Kelvin waves. Figure 4 shows the spheres kinetic energy during the interaction. In the second calculation, we impose a high initial velocity v p 0 = 200 cm/ s to the sphere, and set it at initial distance v p 0 from the vortex, where = pa2 / 3 is the p Stokes time the characteristic time for the drag to stop the sphere in the absence of the vortex . Such high velocity can be achieved by a heat ux only slightly larger than that used in existing counterow experiments2 when applied at the lower temperature which we consider here. Critical velocities will be the subject of our next investigations; at this stage, we are interested only in the possible scenarios and the role played by the various forces, hence the reason for the high v p 0 . Figure 5 shows that the vortex bends to the side

as the sphere approaches, as in Fig. 1, but it is also pushed back by the much larger superow V top middle image . After the reconnection, the sphere breaks away from the vortex bottom left image , leaving behind Kelvin waves bottom right image . Figure 6 shows the relative magnitude of the forces on the sphere. At the beginning of the evolution, the dominant force is the drag fd because, unlike Fig. 1, v p 0 0. When the sphere is sufciently close to the vortex e.g., 2 105 s t 3 105 s , the main balance of forces is between fd and fb. ft is always negligible but for a short duration at the moment of reconnection notice the small spike on the bottom curve . Unlike Fig. 4, the spheres kinetic energy decreases monotonically see Fig. 7 . In conclusion, we have computed self-consistently the coupled nonlinear dynamics of a vortex and a sphere. The expected qualitative outcome of the interaction is that the sphere becomes trapped in the vortex or breaks free from it, and that in both cases the interaction is accompanied by the emission of Kelvin waves. Our calculation has revealed the actual distortion of the vortex i.e., the amplitude of these Kelvin waves , and the surprising result that the trapped sphere can move along the vortex. Occasionally, we have also observed that small vortex handles can remain attached to the sphere for part of the evolution. In all cases, we have determined the relative importance of the various forces acting on the sphere. This work is funded by EPSRC Grant No. GR/T08876/01.

1 R.

J. Donnelly, Quantized Vortices in Helium II Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991 . 2 R. J. Donnelly, A. N. Karpetis, J. J. Niemela, K. R. Sreenivasan, and W. F. Vinen, J. Low Temp. Phys. 126, 327 2002 ; T. Zhang and S. W. VanSciver, Nat. Phys. 1, 36 2005 . 3 G. P. Bewley, D. P. Lathrop, and K. R. Sreenivasan, Nature London 44, 588 2006 . 4 K. W. Schwarz, Phys. Rev. Lett. 47, 251 1981 ; M. Tsubota and S. Maekawa, Phys. Rev. B 47, 12040 1993 . 5 N. G. Berloff and P. H. Roberts Phys. Rev. B 63, 024510 2000 ; T. Winiecki and C. S. Adams, Europhys. Lett. 52, 257 2000 . 6 K. W. Schwarz, Phys. Rev. B 38, 2398 1988 .

Kivotides, C. F. Barenghi, and Y. A. Sergeev unpublished . C. F. Barenghi, R. J. Donnelly, and W. F. Vinen, J. Low Temp. Phys. 52, 189 1983 . 9 J. Jager, B. Schuderer, and W. Schoepe, Phys. Rev. Lett. 74, 566 1995 . 10 D. Kivotides, C. F. Barenghi, and D. C. Samuels, Science 290, 777 2000 ; D. Kivotides, C. F. Barenghi, and Y. A. Sergeev, Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 215302 2005 ; Y. A. Sergeev, S. Wang, E. Meneguz, and C. F. Barenghi, J. Low Temp. Phys. 146, 417 2007 . 11 D. R. Poole, C. F. Barenghi, Y. A. Sergeev, and W. F. Vinen, Phys. Rev. B 71, 064514 2005 .

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