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British scientists simulate distorted space-time using a small black hole

British scientists simulate distorted space-time using a small black hole

Artist's view of the black hole M60-UCD1. Image: NASA/ESA
Lisa Syed Lisa Syed 4 minutes

Researchers have A black hole uses so-called quantum vortices simulation. with Helium is superfluid They were able to create the structure of that It looks like a black hole and also has similar physical properties. The results can be used to draw conclusions about the space-time distortions of black holes.

Superfluids – for example supercold (cryogenic) helium – have special properties, for example they have no internal friction (viscosity). Superfluids can be studied in so-called quantum vortices. They are small vortices, that is, holes, in which the superfluid rotates around individual molecules, air or vacuum. The superfluid itself is unable to rotate.

Scientists from University of Nottinghaml King's College London And the Newcastle University He has now succeeded in the experiment A stable quantum tornado of many small unstable quantum vortices To create or create. Here you can observe the gravitational conditions of rotating black holes.

Superliquid helium with unusual quantum properties

In order to compare gravity to fluids, viscosity must be eliminated – which happens, for example, with cooled helium. “The use of ultrafluid helium allowed us to study small surface waves in greater detail and precision than our previous experiments in water,” explains Dr. Patrick Svankara, University of Nottingham School of Mathematical Sciences, lead author of the book Study published in Nature.

Because the viscosity of superfluid helium is so small, we were able to carefully study its interaction with the superfluid cyclone and compare the results with our theoretical predictions. – doctor. Patrick Savantara, School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham.

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The team built a cryogenic system of a few liters of superfluid helium at temperatures below -271 degrees Celsius. Liquid helium reaches this temperature Macroscopic quantum properties are extraordinary. For example, a liquid flows up the edge of a container.

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Quantum vortices are usually unstable. “Ultrafluid helium contains small objects called quantum vortices that tend to move away from each other,” explains Dr. Patrick Svankara.

In our setup, we were able to confine tens of thousands of such quanta into a compact body resembling a mini-tornado, thus achieving a vortex flow of record strength in the quantum fluid world. doctor. Patrick Savantara, School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham.

Researchers discovered Similarities between eddy current and the gravitational effect of black holes on the spacetime surrounding them. In the future, such giant quantum vortices could be used to simulate and study the complex region of curved space-time.

From eddy currents to space-time distortions in black holes

Professor Dr. Silke Weinfurtner reported that similarities with black holes were first observed in previous experiments in 2017. This is indeed the case A breakthrough in understanding phenomena He was, Which usually cannot be examined at all.

With our state-of-the-art experiment, we've taken this research to the next level, which may eventually lead us to predict how quantum fields behave in curved space-time around astrophysical black holes. – Professor Dr. Silke Weinfurtner, School of Mathematics, University of Nottingham.

The research receives £5 million in funding from the Science Technology Facilities Board, including teams from the University of Nottingham, the University of Newcastle and King's College London for their work.

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