Elusive vortex knot created for the first time

Physicists at the University of Chicago have successfully created a vortex knot, after a century of failed attempts by scientists.

Although, in theory, vortex knots were thought to be persistent, stable phenomena, Dustin Kleckner and his team were surprised to find that they were not. “They seem to break up in a particular way. They stretch themselves, which is a weird behaviour” said Kleckner. The researchers have dubbed this behaviour “reconnection events”, in which the loops elongate, begin to circulate in opposite directions, move towards each other and then collide.

The knots may help untangle the complicated behaviour of the electrically charged gas in plasma flows and in understanding the energy transport of complex flows in regular fluids and superfluids.

Read more at University of Chicago