Viking knots and quantum vortices, the points in common.
The mathematical analysis identifies a decay-insensitive vortex structure resembling a pattern used by the Vikings.
This study focused on vortices (matter rotating around a specific center) in the Bose-Einstein condensate, a particular state of matter in which bosons (subatomic particles) are cooled to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, starting to behave as a whole rather than as separate particles. The findings have implications for quantum computing, particle physics, and other fields. Researcher Toni Annala uses strings and swirls of water to explain the phenomenon. To do this, they carried out their studies on a structure that is conceptually similar to the Borromean rings, a pattern of three interconnected circles, used extensively in symbolism and as a coat of arms. A Viking symbol associated with Odin features three similarly interlocking triangles. If one of the circles or triangles is removed, the whole pattern dissolves because the remaining two are not directly connected. Each element then connects its two partners, stabilizing the structure as a whole.
The mathematical analysis of this research shows that equally robust structures can exist between knotted or connected eddies. Such structures could be observed in some types of liquid crystal or condensed matter systems and could influence the behavior and development of such systems.
These findings could one day help make quantum computing more accurate. In topological quantum computing, logical operations would be performed by weaving different types of vortices around each other in various ways. In normal liquids nodes (every point where a wave system has no oscillation) melt, but in quantum fields there can be nodes with topological protection, as we are now discovering,” says Möttönen.