Quantum Turbulent Structure in Light

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College of Natual Science and Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy


The infinite superpositions of random plane waves are known to be threaded with vortex line singularities which form complicated tangles and obey strict topological rules. We observe that within these structures, a timelike axis appears to emerge with which we can define vortex velocities in a useful way: With both numerical simulations and optical experiments, we show that the statistics of these velocities match those of turbulent quantum fluids such as superfluid helium and atomic Bose-Einstein condensates. These statistics are shown to be independent of system scale. These results raise deep questions about the general nature of quantum chaos and the role of nonlinearity in the structure of turbulence.

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