Hydrodynamic Spin Lattices

A spin lattice of bouncing droplets.

Droplets bouncing on a fluid bath display some strikingly quantum-like behaviors thanks to the interactions between a drop and its guiding surface wave. Here, researchers use submerged wells beneath the drop to confine each droplet into a space where it bounces in a clockwise or anticlockwise trajectory.

(a) An illustration of the experimental set-up and (b) top-down image of the spin lattice.

With an array of these wells, the droplets form a lattice. Each drop remains in its well, but its wave travels beyond and interacts with nearby wells. Through this interaction, the researchers found that lattices tended to synchronize, similar to the way groups of fireflies will synchronize their flashing. This sort of behavior is also observed in quantum systems, and the researchers hope that further studying their bouncing droplets will give insight into quantum spin systems and their behaviors. (Image and research credit: P. Saenz et al.; via Nature; submitted by Kam-Yung Soh)

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