Applied Physics

Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

From quantum to classical fluid flows

The ICTP Fluid Dynamics Laboratory is a world-class research facility whose activities range from quantum to classical fluid flows and whose centrepiece is an apparatus capable of producing the highest levels of controlled buoyancy-driven turbulence in the world. It operates at a temperature of near-absolute zero and provides high-resolution data at the far frontier of fluid dynamics.

From its position atop a rotating platform, ICTP's turbulent convection experiment provides data applicable to large-scale natural phenomena like atmospheric and solar convection in a range of control parameters not possible elsewhere.

Recent experiments have taken particular advantage of the possibility to apply more realistic boundary conditions, particularly the more two-dimensional aspect ratios characteristic of natural extended systems. Novel techniques involving the propagation of high frequency thermal waves have made it possible to provide the first direct mapping of a thermally "superconducting" core at high turbulent intensities, which has been one of the key assumptions in phenomenological theories of turbulent convection.

Fluid Dynamics, Optics, and Laser Physics