In week five of the new Of Schemes and Memes blog series, which features weekly interviews with the art team at Nature, Art Director Kelly Krause explains the decisions behind this week’s front cover image on Atomtronics.
A representation of hysteresis in a quantized superfluid atomtronic circuit based on an image of a trapped ring-shaped Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC). Hysteresis, a phenomenon by which the physical properties of a system depend strongly on the history of the applied perturbation, is widely exploited in electronic circuits including hard disk drives and flux-gate magnetometers and is essential to the function of radio-frequency SQUIDs (superconducting quantum interference devices).
Hysteresis is also fundamental to superfluidity and has been predicted to occur in superfluid atomic-gases, such as BECs. Gretchen Campbell and colleagues now report the first direct detection of hysteresis between quantized circulation states in a circuit formed from a ring of superfluid BEC obstructed by a rotating weak link. The presence of hysteresis in this system is of importance in the emerging field of ‘atomtronics‘, in which ultracold atoms have a role analogous to that of the electrons in electronics. Controlled hysteresis in atomtronic circuits may prove to be a crucial feature for the development of practical devices. Cover: Emily Edwards.
From the Art Desk:
Art Director, Kelly Krause, explains:
“The cover image was submitted by the authors and created by Emily Edwards. When I first came across the image I had no idea what it was showing. Curiosity drove me to take a closer look at their paper. I could see from Fig 2 of the paper below that their process involved a trap, rotation, and stirring, so I reasoned that the cover image was an abstract representation.
Seeking clarification, I contacted author Gretchen Campbell and Edwards. Campbell said:
“The image is an artist conception of our experiment created by Emily Edwards using the program Blender. The ring is indeed a visualization of our trapped ring-shaped Bose-Einstein Condensate. The vortex “motion” was created to visualize the motion of the condensate when we stir it. The reflections were created to show the hysteresis in our system where we have bistable states with opposite rotations. As we stir up the condensate it can jump between those two rotation states depending on how we stir the ring.
“Admittedly the image takes a bit of creative license, but, as Gretchen says, “it still shows our ring condensate and the motion is visualized through the vortex. It was then rendered with many copies of the ring/vortex setup.”
Emily Edwards describes how she created the image:
“The program Blender has a 3D render engine that effectively allows you to incorporate perspective, depth, and “real world” physics into animations and images. The central element, that I created as the base design, is a torus inside a vortex. I placed this entire system inside of cube (with one open side). I gave the cube mirrored surfaces, so that it looked like a “hall of mirrors.” Depending on the image I removed sides of the cube to get the number of reflections desired.
“The hardest part in all of this was making the vortex element because it required animation—here I created a source of particles and a vortex/tornado force field that would make the particles that encountered it circulate. I then ran the simulation (creating an animation), which included motion blur, and picked a frame in the animation which had the look and feel that I was shooting for. Blender allows you to export any frame in an animation as a high-resolution image.
“For the finishing touches, I imported the images into photoshop and added shine, or gloss, or altered colors etc, giving them a more artistic feel.”
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