Onset Of Nanoscale Dissipation In Superfluid He 4 At Zero Temperature: Role Of Vortex Shedding And Cavitation

Two-dimensional flow past an infinitely long cylinder of nanoscopic radius in superfluid 4 He at zero temperature is studied using time-dependent density-functional theory. The calculations reveal two distinct critical phenomena for the onset of dissipation: (i) vortex-antivortex pair shedding from the periphery of the moving cylinder, and (ii) the appearance of cavitation in the wake, which possesses similar geometry to that observed experimentally for fast-moving micrometer-scale particles in superfluid 4 He . The formation of cavitation bubbles behind the cylinder is accompanied by a sudden jump in the drag exerted on the moving cylinder by the fluid. Vortex pairs with the same circulation are occasionally emitted in the form of dimers, which constitute the building blocks for the Benard–von Karman vortex street structure observed in classical turbulent fluids and Bose-Einstein condensates. The cavitation-induced dissipation mechanism should be common to all superfluids that are self-bound and have a finite surface tension, which include the recently discovered self-bound droplets in ultracold Bose gases. These systems would provide an ideal testing ground for further exploration of this mechanism experimentally.