Atomic-scale visualization of electronic fluid flow
The most essential characteristic of any fluid is the velocity field, and this is particularly true for macroscopic quantum fluids1. Although rapid advances2â€“7 have occurred in quantum fluid velocity field imaging8, the velocity field of a charged superfluidâ€”a superconductorâ€”has never been visualized. Here we use superconducting-tip scanning tunnelling microscopy9â€“11 to image the electron-pair density and velocity fields of the flowing electron-pair fluid in superconducting NbSe2. Imaging of the velocity fields surrounding a quantized vortex12,13 finds electronic fluid flow with speeds reaching 10,000 km hâ€“1. Together with independent imaging of the electron-pair density via Josephson tunnelling, we visualize the supercurrent density, which peaks above 3 Ã— 107 A cmâ€“2. The spatial patterns in electronic fluid flow and magneto-hydrodynamics reveal hexagonal structures coaligned to the crystal lattice and quasiparticle bound states14, as long anticipated15â€“18. These techniques pave the way for electronic fluid flow visualization studies of other charged quantum fluids. Â© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.