by Staff Writers
Nottingham UK (SPX) Jun 15, 2017
Scientists at the University of Nottingham have made a significant leap forward in understanding the workings of one of the mysteries of the universe. They have successfully simulated the conditions around black holes using a specially designed water bath.
Their findings shed new light on the physics of black holes with the first laboratory evidence of the phenomenon known as the superradiance, achieved using water and a generator to create waves.
The research - Rotational superradiant scattering in a vortex flow - has been published in Nature Physics. It was undertaken by a team in the Quantum Gravity Laboratory in the School of Physics and Astronomy.
The work was led by Silke Weinfurtner from the School of Mathematical Sciences. In collaboration with an interdisciplinary team she designed and built the black hole 'bath' and measurement system to simulate black hole conditions.
Dr Weinfurtner said: "This research has been particularly exciting to work on as it has bought together the expertise of physicists, engineers and technicians to achieve our common aim of simulating the conditions of a black hole and proving that superadiance exists. We believe our results will motivate further research on the observation of superradiance in astrophysics."
What is superradiance?
Superadiance - the extraction of energy from a rotating black hole - is also known as the Penrose Mechanism and is a precursor of Hawking Radiation - a quantum version of black-hole superradiance.
What's in the Black Hole Lab?
The 'flume', is specially designed 3m long, 1.5m wide and 50cm deep bath with a hole in the centre. Water is pumped in a closed circuit to establish a rotating draining flow. Once at the desired depth waves were generated at varied frequenices until the supperadiant scattering effect is created and recorded using a specially designed 3D air fluid interface sensor.
Tiny dots of white paper punched out by a specially adapted sewing machine were used to measure the flow field - the speed of the fluid flow around the analogue black hole.
It all started from humble beginnings
After her postdoc, Dr Weinfurtner went on to work with Bill Unruh, the Canadian born physicist who also has a made seminal contributions to our understanding of gravity, black holes, cosmology, quantum fields in curved spaces, and the foundations of quantum mechanics, including the discovery of the Unruh effect.
Her move to the University of Nottingham accelerated her research as she was able to set up her own research group with support from the machine shop in the School of Physics and Astronomy.
Rochester NY (SPX) Jun 06, 2017
New information gleaned from gravitational wave observations is helping scientists understand what happens when massive stars die and transform into black holes. Rochester Institute of Technology researcher Richard O'Shaughnessy and collaborators reanalyzed the merging black holes detected by LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) on Dec. 26, 2016. "Using essentia ... read more
University of Nottingham
Understanding Time and Space
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