We report on the observation of vortices in a dysprosium quantum gas! Together with Dr. Giacomo Lamporesi from the University of Trento, we investigate one of the most fundamental phenomenon of superfluidity: quantized vorticity. We exploit the anisotropic nature of the dipole-dipole interaction to induce angular symmetry breaking in an otherwise cylindrically symmetric pancake-shaped trap. Tilting the magnetic field towards the radial plane deforms the cloud into an ellipsoid through magnetostriction, which is then set into rotation. At stirring frequencies approaching the radial trap frequency, we observe the generation of dynamically unstable surface excitations, which cause angular momentum to be pumped into the system through vortices. In the image above, if we keep the magnetic field tilted whilst rotating the vortices arrange into a stripe configuration along the field–in close corroboration with simulations–realizing a long sought-after prediction for dipolar vortices. Tilting the field back up the vortices lose this alignment, and become isotropic in shape.
Check out the paper in Nature Physics here: Nat. Phys. The paper is also twinned with a nice write-up from Prof. Zoran Hadzibabic from the University of Cambridge, titled “When ultracold magnets swirl“