Vortex Loops Could Untie Knotty Physics Problem

University of Chicago physicists have succeeded in creating a vortex knot — a feat akin to tying a smoke ring into a knot. Linked and knotted vortex loops have existed in theory for more than a century, but creating them in the laboratory had previously eluded scientists. Vortex knots should, in principle, be persistent, stable phenomena. "The unexpected thing is that they're not," said Dustin Kleckner, a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Chicago's James Franck Institute. "They seem to break up in a particular way. They stretch themselves, which is a weird behavior." This behavior culminates in what the researchers call "reconnection events." In these events, the loops elongate, begin to circulate in opposite directions, move toward each other and collide (the reconnection).

Provided by the University of Chicago

Runtime: 4:18

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