Energy spectra of vortex distributions in two-Dimensional quantum turbulence

Ashton S. Bradley, Brian P. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


We theoretically explore key concepts of two-dimensional turbulence in a homogeneous compressible superfluid described by a dissipative two-dimensional Gross-Pitaeveskii equation. Such a fluid supports quantized vortices that have a size characterized by the healing length ξ.We show that, for the divergencefree portion of the superfluid velocity field, the kinetic-energy spectrum over wave number k may be decomposed into an ultraviolet regime (k ≫ ξ-1) having a universal k-3 scaling arising from the vortex core structure, and an infrared regime (k ≪ ξ-1) with a spectrum that arises purely from the configuration of the vortices. The Novikov power-law distribution of intervortex distances with exponent -1/3 for vortices of the same sign of circulation leads to an infrared kinetic-energy spectrum with a Kolmogorov k-5/3 power law, which is consistent with the existence of an inertial range. The presence of these k-3 and k-5/3 power laws, together with the constraint of continuity at the smallest configurational scale k ≈ ξ-1, allows us to derive a new analytical expression for the Kolmogorov constant that we test against a numerical simulation of a forced homogeneous, compressible, two-dimensional superfluid. The numerical simulation corroborates our analysis of the spectral features of the kinetic-energy distribution, once we introduce the concept of a clustered fraction consisting of the fraction of vortices that have the same sign of circulation as their nearest neighboring vortices. Our analysis presents a new approach to understanding two-dimensional quantum turbulence and interpreting similarities and differences with classical twodimensional turbulence, and suggests new methods to characterize vortex turbulence in two-dimensional quantum fluids via vortex position and circulation measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041001
JournalPhysical Review X
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Energy spectra of vortex distributions in two-Dimensional quantum turbulence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this