“Millimetric liquid droplets can walk across the surface of a vibrating fluid bath, self-propelled through a resonant interaction with their own guiding or ‘pilot’ wave fields. These walking droplets, or ‘walkers’, exhibit several features previously thought to be peculiar to the microscopic, quantum realm. In particular, walkers confined to circular corrals manifest a wave-like statistical behaviour reminiscent of that of electrons in quantum corrals. Here we demonstrate that localized topological inhomogeneities in an elliptical corral may lead to resonant projection effects in the walker’s statistics similar to those reported in quantum corrals. Specifically, we show that a submerged circular well may drive the walker to excite specific eigenmodes in the bath that result in drastic changes in the particle’s statistical behaviour. The well tends to attract the walker, leading to a local peak in the walker’s position histogram. By placing the well at one of the foci, a mode with maxima near the foci is preferentially excited, leading to a projection effect in the walker’s position histogram towards the empty focus, an effect strongly reminiscent of the quantum mirage. Finally, we demonstrate that the mean pilot-wave field has the same form as the histogram describing the walker’s statistics.”
Sáenz, P. J., Cristea-Platon, T., & Bush, J. W. (2018). Statistical projection effects in a hydrodynamic pilot-wave system. Nature Physics, 14(3), 315.
Yves Couder, Emmanuel Fort, and coworkers recently discovered that a millimetric droplet sustained on the surface of a vibrating fluid bath may self-propel through a resonant interaction with its own wave field. This article reviews experimental evidence indicating that the walking droplets exhibit certain features previously thought to be exclusive to the microscopic, quantum realm. It then reviews theoretical descriptions of this hydrodynamic pilot-wave system that yield insight into the origins of its quantumlike behavior. Quantization arises from the dynamic constraint imposed on the droplet by its pilot-wave field, and multimodal statistics appear to be a feature of chaotic pilot-wave dynamics. I attempt to assess the potential and limitations of this hydrodynamic system as a quantum analog. This fluid system is compared to quantum pilot-wave theories, shown to be markedly different from Bohmian mechanics and more closely related to de Broglie’s original conception of quantum dynamics, his double-solution theory, and its relatively recent extensions through researchers in stochastic electrodynamics.