Research

Bouncing in a Corral

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About a year ago, we featured a video in which a fluid droplet bouncing on a vibrating pool demonstrated some aspects of the wave-particle duality fundamental to quantum mechanics. Work on this system continues and this new video focuses on studying some of the statistics of such a bouncing droplet–called a walker in the video–when it is confined to a circular corral. Using strobe lighting and capturing one frame per bounce, the vertical motion of these droplets is filtered out and the walking motion and the surface waves that guide it are captured. When the droplet is allowed to walk for an extended time, its path appears complicated and seemingly random, but it is possible to build a statistical picture and a probability density field that describe where the walker is most likely to be, much the way one describes the likelihood of locating a quantum particle. Parallels between the physical macroscale system and quantum-mechanical theory are drawn. (Video credit: D. Harris and J. Bush; submission by D. Harris)

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