Experimental observation of violent relaxation

Maria Chiara Braidotti*, Martino Lovisetto, Radivoje Prizia, Claire Michel, Clamond Didier, Matthieu Bellec, Ewan M. Wright, Bruno Marcos*, Daniele Faccio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Structures in the Universe, ranging from globular clusters to entire galaxies, are not described by standard statistical mechanics at equilibrium. Instead, they are formed through a process of a very different nature, called violent relaxation that is now known to be possible also in other systems that exhibit long-range interactions. This mechanism was proposed theoretically and modelled numerically, but never directly observed in any physical system. Here, we develop a table-top experiment allowing us to directly observe violent relaxation in an optical setting. The resulting optical dynamics can also be likened to the formation of an analogue 2D-galaxy through the analogy of the underlying equations, where we can control a range of parameters, including the nonlocal interacting potential, allowing us to emulate the physics of gravitational quantum and classical dark matter models.
Original languageEnglish
Article number206
JournalCommunications Physics
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2024

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