Hydrodynamic nucleation of quantized vortex pairs in a polariton quantum fluid
Quantized vortices appear in quantum gases at the breakdown of superfluidity. In liquid helium and cold atomic gases, they have been indentified as the quantum counterpart of turbulence in classical fluids. In the solid state, composite light-matter bosons known as exciton polaritons have enabled studies of non-equilibrium quantum gases and superfluidity. However, there has been no experimental evidence of hydrodynamic nucleation of polariton vortices so far. Here we report the experimental study of a polariton fluid flowing past an obstacle and the observation of nucleation of quantized vortex pairs in the wake of the obstacle. We image the nucleation mechanism and track the motion of the vortices along the flow. The nucleation conditions are established in terms of local fluid density and velocity measured on the obstacle perimeter. The experimental results are successfully reproduced by numerical simulations based on the resolution of the Gross-Pitaevskii equation.
Record created on 2011-09-09, modified on 2016-08-09