Research ArticlePHYSICS

A hydrodynamic analog of Friedel oscillations

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Science Advances  15 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 20, eaay9234
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay9234


We present a macroscopic analog of an open quantum system, achieved with a classical pilot-wave system. Friedel oscillations are the angstrom-scale statistical signature of an impurity on a metal surface, concentric circular modulations in the probability density function of the surrounding electron sea. We consider a millimetric drop, propelled by its own wave field along the surface of a vibrating liquid bath, interacting with a submerged circular well. An ensemble of drop trajectories displays a statistical signature in the vicinity of the well that is strikingly similar to Friedel oscillations. The droplet trajectories reveal the dynamical roots of the emergent statistics. Our study elucidates a new mechanism for emergent quantum-like statistics in pilot-wave hydrodynamics and so suggests new directions for the nascent field of hydrodynamic quantum analogs.

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