Non-specular reflection of walking droplets

Since their discovery by Yves Couder and Emmanuel Fort, droplets walking on a vibrating liquid bath have attracted considerable attention because they unexpectedly exhibit certain features reminiscent of quantum particles. While the behaviour of walking droplets in unbounded geometries has to a large extent been rationalized theoretically, no such rationale exists for their behaviour in the presence of boundaries, as arises in a number of key quantum analogue systems. We here present the results of a combined experimental and theoretical study of the interaction of walking droplets with a submerged planar barrier. Droplets exhibit non-specular reflection, with a small range of reflection angles that is only weakly dependent on the system parameters, including the angle of incidence. The observed behaviour is captured by simulations based on a theoretical model that treats the boundaries as regions of reduced wave speed, and rationalized in terms of momentum considerations.

G. Pucci, P. J. Saenz, L. M. Faria, John W. M. Bush, Non-specular reflection of walking droplets, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2016.

Non-specular reflection