Inside a single wheel-shaped droplet of liquid helium rotating 2 million times per second, scientists have spotted a storm of dozens of tiny tornadoes whirling around.
The droplets of liquid helium spun 100,000 times faster than in any previous experiments. The grid of quantum tornadoes inside the droplets could reveal interesting information on the bizarre nature of "superfluid" liquid helium and the nature of quantum rotation, say the international team of scientists involved in the study.
An illustration of the grid of tiny tornadoes discovered inside a single helium droplet. The density of tornadoes is 100,000 times greater than any previous experiment with superfluids.
The quest for quantum vortices in superfluid droplets has stretched for decades," Andrey Vilesov, a professor of chemistry at the University of Southern California, said in a statement. "But this is the first time they have been seen in superfluid droplets."