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Quantum Cavitation†

Paola Zizzi*, Eliano Pessa* and Fabio Cardone**

* Biokavitus Research Laboratory, Concesio (BS), Italy and University of Pavia, Italy. e-mails: paola.zizzi@unipv.it; eliano.pessa@unipv.it ** Department of Physics “E. Amaldi”, University of Roma 3, Italy; CNR-ISMN, Roma, Italy and Biokavitus Research Laboratory, Concesio (BS), Italy.

Abstract

We consider the theoretical setting of a superfluid like 3He in a rotating container, which is set between the two layers of a type-II superconductor. We describe the superfluid vortices as a 2dimensional Ising-like model on a triangular lattice in presence of local magnetic fields. The interaction term of the superfluid vortices with the Abrikosov vortices of the superconductor appears then as a symmetry breaking term in the free energy. Such a term gives a higher probability of quantum tunnelling across the potential barrier for bubbles nucleation, thus favouring quantum cavitation. Keywords: Cavitation, superfluids, superconductors, quantum vortices, Ising model.

† Work partially supported by Biokavitus S.r.l. research grant.

9. where the lattice of the Abrikosov vortices is superposed to the lattice of superfluid vortices. it is very easy to understand why quantum effects should become important. favouring the formation of bubbles (see. for masses of the order of the nuclear 4 3 mass of He or He and a temperature of the order of 0. The latter circumstances. Also. Insofar. For instance. in this paper 3 we will be concerned about quantum cavitation in a superfluid (typically He) at temperatures very close to the absolute zero. stimulated a deep study of cavitation. very high pressures and temperatures. . The model We give the theoretical setting of an experiment which might improve quantum cavitation. 2. While the detailed theoretical description of this phenomenon heavily depends on the adopted choices both of the interatomic interaction potential and the form of the equation of state for the substance under consideration. Sect. we will give the theoretical setting of a possible experiment. the superfluid in the Landau state is irrotational (curl v s = 0 ) .2 1. both the evidence coming from experimental 4 3 investigations about superfluid He and He and theoretical arguments showed the existence of phenomena of quantum cavitation [8. To be a superfluid. In Sect. 3 is devoted to the conclusions. In recent times.5. in the final stage of bubble collapse in a cavitation it 5 has been reported [16] [17] that temperatures of 10 °K (and higher) could be reached. The latter consists in a strong increase of bubble nucleation rate induced by a quantum tunnelling across the nucleation barrier. we will take into account the influence of Abrikosov vortices occurring in a type-II superconductors (which also form a triangular lattice) on superfluid vortices. neglecting obvious experimental difficulties. related to cavitation but not necessarily associated with low temperatures. 3 We will consider a superfluid like He contained in a vessel which is rotating at a high angular velocity. the effects occurring at very low temperatures are still easier to investigate than the ones associated with very high temperatures. 10. typically involving the nucleation and growth of gas bubbles within a liquid. For low angular velocities Ω of the container. 13. we expect that this interaction will increase the cavitation rate. the superfluid is stationary: v s = 0 . where v s denotes the superfluid velocity. in a Lennard-Jones interatomic potential. done by resorting to the theoretical apparatus of classical physics. characterizes the minimal interatomic distance. 11. [18] [19]). We remark that this interaction between the two lattices of vortices appears as natural (owing to their similarity and the common theoretical background underlying the description of superfluidity and superconductivity). Therefore. 14. The presence of vortices gives a further contribution of negative pressure.7]. Indeed it is immediate to show that. Let us consider a superfluid (for example 3He) put in a rotating container.3. 15]. however. Thus. despite the technological difficulties. In presence of a positive pressure the bubbles undergo a very fast implosion. giving rise to strong energy concentrations. 2. just of the same order of parameter which. however. 12. for instance [20]) or of highdensity nuclear matter [21]. with respect to thermal ones. at very low temperatures such as the ones associated with Helium superfluid phase. helium is cooled at a temperature below the λ -temperature: T < Tλ . which produce a number of harmful as well as advantageous effects. see [1. In this state of the superfluid there is the formation of quantum vortices whose pattern is a triangular lattice. in the literature. This can be modelled as a simple Ising-like model in 2D on a triangular lattice.4. Introduction Cavitation is a complex physical phenomenon.01 °K.6. We remark. that the above argument could hold even in other situations. the thermal De Broglie wavelength -10 has a value of the order of 10 m.2. this kind of interaction between a superconductor and a superfluid has been taken in consideration only within the context of neutron stars (see. However. for instance. Also. This is called the Landau state.

There are however thin regions of the superfluid. which is circulating around a r closed loop surrounding a vortex line at a certain distance r from the core of the vortex with r tangential velocity v . The superfluid vortices form a triangular lattice. Let us consider a particle (an atom) of the superfluid with mass m s . the Landau state becomes unstable and decays toward a state having vortices.3 But when Ω increases.1 A superfluid in a rotating container sandwiched in a Type-II superconductor. which circulate around vortices lines. Now. let us imagine to put the container between the two layers of a type-II superconductor. and h is the reduced Planck constant: h = . with an external magnetic field H greater than the critical value: H > H c . In this state. The yellow straight lines are superfluid vortex lines. and a velocity: . r In the case of a superfluid. which also form a triangular lattice. in order to look for the interaction between the two kinds of vortices (See Fig. in the same rotational sense of the container. As it is well known.1). the bulk of the superfluid remains irrotational. The green curled lines are Abrikosov vortex lines. the circulation of the velocity field v along an oriented closed path C enclosing a vortex line is quantized: r r 2π h n (1) Φ = ∫ v ⋅ dl = ms C r h where dl is the infinitesimal element of C. in this case type-II superconductors have Abrikosov vortices. 2π It follows that each superfluid atom near the vortex has one unit of quantized angular momentum. Fig. We arrange things in such a way that the two lattices superpose one to another.

(3) ms r 2 In a sense.one gets: h (7) BCYCL = 2 = 0. Moreover. In this case. and its angular momentum is not undefined. The cores are quite unapproachable because in the vicinity r r of the vortex core. it is evident that the sites of the lattice coincide with the cores of the vortices. If the superfluid particle has an electric charge q s . quantized magnetic fields (defined from Abrikosov vortices) interact with spins at each node. it might be possible to get the superfluid particle at a distance of the order of the atomic scale ( r0 ≈ 10 −10 m ) from the vortex core. spiral. where ξ is the coherence length.3 × 10 5 Wb / m 2 r0 q s In correspondence to the cut-off. local. and it is still quantized. i. . let us introduce a magnetic field B having the same direction and verse of the vorticity ω along the vortex line. By equating the centripetal force and the magnetic force. the particle is “almost” spinning around its axis. which can be superposed one to another. in practice. r r Then. vorticity is a measure of the local spin of part of the superfluid. which “almost” coincides with the vortex line. for r ≤ ξ . we have: Φ B (0) ≈ ln k (5) 2πλ2 where k = B(r ) ≈ λ − r λ λ is the Ginzburg-Landau parameter.e. logarithmically diverges for r → 0 . However. in presence of a magnetic field B of suitable intensity. both evaluated at the cut-off r0 . spins (defined from vorticity) are attached to the nodes of the lattice. it will experience a v r r magnetic force F = q s (v × B ) .4 h (2) ms r The vorticity of the particle is: 2h w(r ) = . the cyclotron frequency is: f c (r0 ) = 3 × 10 8 Hz (8) At the cut-off. However. The simplest theoretical model which can describe this interaction is an Ising-like model in 2D in presence of local magnetic fields. whose associated quantized flux is : r 2π h ˆ Φ = ∫ B ⋅ n dS = n (4) ec S ˆ where ec is the charge of the Cooper pairs. Within this description. and n is the unit vector normal to the surface. The magnetic field distribution of a single vortex: v(r ) = e r where r is the distance from the core and λ is the London penetration depth. Our purpose is to find an interaction between the superfluid vortices described above and the Abrikosov vortices of a type-II superconductor. ξ From (4) and (5) one gets: h B (0) ABRIK ≈ ln k (6) ec λ 2 Both kinds of vortices (1) and (4) form triangular lattices. the velocity v is not defined. The force causes the particle to be angularly displaced.

At low temperatures. at the cut-off. the first term in (12) can be neglected and the leading term is the interaction term between superfluid vortices and Abrikosov vortices: ∆E ≈ − ρη ∑ hi wi (13) i Cavitation occurs in superfluids at negative pressures where the energy barrier preventing the nucleation of bubbles becomes smaller.2 The triangular lattice of vorticity in a Ising-like model (i. that is. in presence of localized magnetic fields hi : E = − Jη 2 ∑ ( wi . the sound velocity becomes zero and the barrier to nucleation vanishes is called the spinodal limit. j wi +1.5 Then. thermal fluctuations become weaker. are required by dimensional arguments. The negative pressure at which the compressibility of the liquid becomes infinite. j +1 ) − ρ η ∑ hi wi ij i (12) where J stands for the common value of all the Js. and the . j wi +1. At some distance from the spinodal. we need a type-II superconductor with a Ginzburg-Landau parameter of value k = exp(γ ) . the magnetic fields break the symmetry under the interchange of +1 (spins aligned) and -1 (spins anti-aligned). j + wi . Fig. however.j) (i. for our purpose. (9) 2 We remind that the magnetic field B considered here should be a local field related to an Abrikosov vortex of a type-II superconductor. The sum in the spin-spin interaction term links every site to its nearest neighbors.j+1) (i+1. For J ≈ 0 (almost non interacting superfluid vortices). δ = ec λ2 . The above considerations allow us to write the free energy of an Ising-like model on a triangular lattice in terms of the wi . ρ = q s r0 ρ (11) Then.j+1) As in the original Ising model in 2D. j wi . By comparing the intensity of the Abrikosov vortex magnetic field in (6) with that of the cyclotron magnetic field in (7) one gets: ln k = γ (10) with: 2 γ = δ 2 .j) (i+1. See Fig.2. and is taken positive (ferromagnetic interaction). j +1 + wi . with vectors proportional to the vorticity w at each vortex core. there is a chance for bubbles nucleation with the aid of thermal fluctuations. we are authorized to build up an Ising-like model where we identify the spins r S i at each site i. The constants η 2 and ρη placed in front of the spin-spin and magnetic field-spin interaction terms respectively. we put: r m S i = ηwi with: η = 0 s .

differently from the usual thermally assisted quantum cavitation. 25. within some limits. While the domain of nuclear phenomena in condensed matter is still associated with contradictory experimental . We wish to remark that this term indicates that a quantum transition is taking place. While this effect has been described within the specific context of superconductor-superfluid interaction. is sandwiched between the two layers of a type-II superconductor. independent from the system temperature and its effect is mediated by the spatio-temporal volume in which the coupling acts. is coupled with the flux associated with the manybody system under consideration. being used to describe very different systems. 27]). The phenomena associated with the microplasma quoted above could be the cause of observed piezonuclear effects both in liquids and solids (see. whose origin in entirely due to a quantum effect. taking place in some many-body systems endowed with topological singularities associated with quantized fluxes. For thermally assisted quantum tunnelling see for example [22]. related to an external field characterized by similar topological singularities. thermally activated nucleation becomes negligible compared to quantum cavitation (quantum tunnelling through the energy barrier). which is purely topological [23].6 probability of nucleation remain small even very close to the spinodal. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that Ising-like models are conceptual structures having a wide reach. quantum transitions occur without divergence of fluctuations close to the critical point. for instance. Below a critical (crossover) temperature T*. As it is well known. we hypothesize that it is endowed with a more general nature and can therefore take place even in other contexts. Conclusions In this paper. we have considered a Gedankenexperiment. In turn. 3. it enhances in a very significant way the nucleation rate of bubbles within the system. this gives rise to a new form of quantum cavitation. In presence of interaction of superfluid vortices with Abrikosov vortices. the number of nucleated bubbles per unit time and volume) evaluated at the thermal-to-quantum crossover temperature T* is [9]: − ∆Ω max / T * J * = J *e (14) T 0T Where ∆Ω max is the energy gap and J 0T * is a factor depending on the particular nucleation process. ranging from ferromagnets to biological neural networks. This pressure gradient is. This leads to the deduction of formula (15) which gives a purely quantum contribution to quantum cavitation. where a superfluid contained in a vessel rotating at high angular velocity. offering an an alternative with respect to other traditional ways of plasma formation. The cavitation rate in a superfluid (that is. In this way. we can build a mathematical model which is an Ising-like model in 2D on a triangular lattice in presence of local magnetic fields. The fact that this term is temperature independent is quite important because it can be applied to several different domains. quantum phase transitions are associated to the so called quantum order. we pretend to be able to arrange things in such a way that the two triangular lattices of Abrikosov vortices and superfluid vortices coincide. In this experimental setting. The formula expressing the topological contribution to quantum cavitation can be read as describing a new kind of quantum effect. 26. the cavitation rate is then increased by a factor: ρη ∑ hi wi i (15) e − ∆E = e Notice that the contribution to quantum cavitation given in (15) does not depend on temperature. [24. In both cases we have the formation of a microplasma. By purely quantum we mean that this contribute to the cavitation rate does not depend on temperature. This effect consists in the occurrence of a further negative pressure gradient whenever another quantized flux. which can produce energy release either through an implosion of these bubbles or through their explosion. but is purely quantum. from crystal structures to cognitive systems. In any case. Moreover.

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