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Mark Siemens: Quantum Turbulent Structure in Light

Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of Denver


A random superposition of plane waves is known to be threaded with vortex line singularities which form complicated tangles and obey strict topological rules. In this work, we use both numerical simulations of random waves and experiments on laser speckle to observe and characterize the dynamics of the vortex tangles. We find that the velocity statistics of the vortices in random waves match those of turbulent quantum fluids such as superfluid helium and atomic Bose-Einstein condensates (Physical Review Letters 122, 044301 2019). These statistics are shown to be independent of system scale. These results raise deep questions about the role of nonlinearity in the structure of turbulence and the general nature of quantum chaos.

Biography: Mark Siemens is a Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Denver (DU). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, and then was an NRC postdoc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and JILA before joining the faculty at DU. He is the faculty advisor for DU’s Society of Physics Students and was the Director of DU’s Undergraduate Research Center until recently. In his research, Dr. Siemens studies optical vortex propagation and interaction, as well as carrier transport and quantum coherence in nanostructures.