Numerical studies of superfluids and superconductors
In this thesis we demonstrate the power of the Gross-Pitaevskii and the time-dependent Ginzburg-Landau equations by numerically solving them for various fundamental problems related to superfluidity and superconductivity. We start by studying the motion of a massive object through a quantum fluid modelled by the Gross-Pitaevskii equation. Below a critical velocity, the object does not exchange momentum or energy with the fluid. This is a manifestation of its superfluid nature. We discuss the effect of applying a constant force to the object and show that for small forces a vortex ring is created to which the object becomes attached. For a larger force the object detaches from the vortex ring and we observe periodic shedding of rings. All energy transfered to the system is contained within the vortex rings and the drag force on the object is due to the recoil of the vortex emission. If we exceed the speed of sound, there is an additional contribution to the drag from sound emission. To make a link to superconductivity, we then discuss vortex states in a rotating system. In the ground state, regular arrays of vortices are observed which, for systems containing many vortices, mimic solid-body rotation. In the second part of the thesis, we initially review solutions to the Ginzburg-Landau equations in an applied magnetic field. For superconducting disks we observe vortex arrays similar to those in rotating superfluids. Finally, we study an electrical current flow along a superconducting wire subject to an external magnetic field. We observe the motion of flux lines, and hence dissipation, due to the Lorentz force. We measure the V – I curve which is analogous to the drag force in a superfluid. With the introduction of impurities, flux lines become pinned which gives rise to an increased critical current.