Hydrodynamic analogs and walking droplets

Spin lattices of walking droplets

We present the results of an experimental investigation of the spontaneous emergence of collective behavior in spin lattice of droplets walking on a vibrating fluid bath. The bottom topography consists of relatively deep circular wells that encourage the walking droplets to follow circular trajectories centered at the lattice sites, in one direction or the other. Wave-mediated interactions between neighboring drops are enabled through a thin fluid layer between the wells. The sense of rotation of the walking droplets may thus become globally coupled. When the coupling is sufficiently strong, interactions with neighboring droplets may result in switches in spin that lead to preferred global arrangements, including correlated (all drops rotating in the same direction) or anti-correlated (neighboring drops rotating in opposite directions) states. Analogies with ferromagnetism and anti-ferromagnetism are drawn. Different spatial arrangements are presented in 1D and 2D lattices to illustrate the effects of topological frustration. 

P. J. Saenz, G. Pucci, A. Gujon, T. Cristea-Platon, J. Dunkel and J. W. M. Bush. Spin lattices of walking droplets.

Phys. Rev. Fluids 3, 100508 (2018). full text

Walking droplets interacting with single and double slits

Couder & Fort (Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 97, 2006, 154101) demonstrated that when a droplet walking on the surface of a vibrating bath passes through a single or a double slit, it is deflected due to the distortion of its guiding wave field. Moreover, they suggested the build-up of statistical diffraction and interference patterns similar to those arising for quantum particles. Recently, these results have been revisited (Andersen et al., Phys. Rev. E, vol. 92 (1), 2015, 013006; Batelaan et al., J. Phys.: Conf. Ser., vol. 701 (1), 2016, 012007) and contested (Andersen et al. 2015; Bohr, Andersen & Lautrup, Recent Advances in Fluid Dynamics with Environmental Applications, 2016, Springer, pp. 335–349). We revisit these experiments with a refined experimental set-up that allows us to systematically characterize the dependence of the dynamical and statistical behaviour on the system parameters. The system behaviour is shown to depend strongly on the amplitude of the vibrational forcing: as this forcing increases, a transition from repeatable to unpredictable trajectories arises.

In all cases considered, the system behaviour is dominated by a wall effect, specifically the tendency for a drop to walk along a path that makes a fixed angle relative to the plane of the slits. While the three dominant central peaks apparent in the histograms of the deflection angle reported by Couder & Fort (2006) are evident in some of the parameter regimes considered in our study, the Fraunhofer-like dependence of the number of peaks on the slit width is not recovered. In the double-slit geometry, the droplet is influenced by both slits by virtue of the spatial extent of its guiding wave field. The experimental behaviour is well captured by a recently developed theoretical model that allows for a robust treatment of walking droplets interacting with boundaries. Our study underscores the importance of experimental precision in obtaining reproducible data.

G. Pucci, D.M. Harris, L. Faria and J. W. M. Bush. Walking droplets interacting with single and double slits. 

J. Fluid Mech. 835, 1136-1156 (2018). ​​full text

Hydrodynamic analog of particle trapping with the Talbot effect

We present the results of an experimental study of the standing waves produced on the surface of a vertically shaken fluid bath just above the Faraday threshold, when a row of equally spaced pillars protrudes from the surface. When the pillar spacing is twice the Faraday wavelength, the resulting wave field is marked by images of the pillars projected at integer multiples of a fixed distance from the row. This projection effect is shown to be analogous to the well-known Talbot or self-imaging effect in optics, and a Faraday-Talbot length is defined that rationalizes the location of the images. A simple model of point sources emitting circular waves captures the observed patterns. We demonstrate that the images may serve as traps for bouncing and walking droplets.

N. Sungar, L. Tambasco, G. Pucci, P. J. Saenz and J. W. M. Bush. Hydrodynamic analog of particle trapping with the Talbot effect. Phys. Rev. Fluids 2, 103602 (2017).full text

Non-specular reflection of walking droplets

Since their discovery by Yves Couder and Emmanuel Fort, droplets walking on a vibrating liquid bath have attracted considerable attention because they unexpectedly exhibit certain features reminiscent of quantum particles. While the behaviour of walking droplets in unbounded geometries has to a large extent been rationalized theoretically, no such rationale exists for their behaviour in the presence of boundaries, as arises in a number of key quantum analogue systems. We here present the results of a combined experimental and theoretical study of the interaction of walking droplets with a submerged planar barrier. Droplets exhibit non-specular reflection, with a small range of reflection angles that is only weakly dependent on the system parameters, including the angle of incidence. The observed behaviour is captured by simulations based on a theoretical model that treats the boundaries as regions of reduced wave speed, and rationalized in terms of momentum considerations.

G. Pucci, P. J. Saenz, L. M. Faria and J. W. M. Bush. Non-specular reflection of walking droplets. 

J. Fluid Mech. 804, R3 (2016). full text

© Giuseppe Pucci 2020