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Particle–Wave Association on a Fluid Interface

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S. Protiére, A. Boudaoud and Y. Couder Journal of Fluid Mechanics 554, 85

A small liquid drop can be kept bouncing on the surface of a bath of the same fluid for an unlimited time when this substrate oscillates vertically. With fluids of low viscosity the repeated collisions generate a surface wave at the bouncing frequency. The various dynamical regimes of the association of the drop with its wave are investigated first. The drop, usually a simple ‘bouncer’, undergoes a drift bifurcation when the forcing amplitude is increased. It thus becomes a ‘walker’ propagating at a constant velocity on the interface. This transition occurs just below the Faraday instability threshold, when the drop becomes a local emitter of a parametrically forced wave. A model of the particle–wave interaction accounts for this drift bifurcation. The self-organization of several identical bouncers is also investigated. At low forcing, bouncers form bound states or crystal-like aggregates. At larger forcing, the collisions between walkers reveal that their interaction can be either repulsive or attractive, depending on their distance apart. The attraction leads to the spontaneous formation of orbiting pairs, the possible orbit diameters forming a discrete set. A theoretical model of the non-local interaction resulting from the interference of the waves is given. The nature of the interaction is thus clarified and the various types of self-organization recovered.

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