Interference effects are important for swimming of mesoscopic systems that are small relative to the coherence length of the surrounding quantum medium. Swimming is geometric for slow swimmers and the distance covered in each stroke is determined, explicitly, in terms of the on-shell scattering matrix. Remarkably, for a one-dimensional Fermi gas at zero temperature we find that slow swimming is topological: the swimming distance covered in one stroke is quantized in half integer multiples of the Fermi wavelength. In addition, a careful choice of the swimming stroke can eliminate dissipation.
- Received 31 August 2005
©2006 American Physical Society