Observation of a new superfluid phase for 3He embedded in nematically ordered aerogel

N. Zhelev, M. Reichl, T. S. Abhilash, E. N. Smith, K. X. Nguyen, E. J. Mueller, J. M. Parpia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

In bulk superfluid 3He at zero magnetic field, two phases emerge with the B-phase stable everywhere except at high pressures and temperatures, where the A-phase is favoured. Aerogels with nanostructure smaller than the superfluid coherence length are the only means to introduce disorder into the superfluid. Here we use a torsion pendulum to study 3He confined in an extremely anisotropic, nematically ordered aerogel consisting of ∼410 nm-thick alumina strands, spaced by ∼100 nm, and aligned parallel to the pendulum axis. Kinks in the development of the superfluid fraction (at various pressures) as the temperature is varied correspond to phase transitions. Two such transitions are seen in the superfluid state, and we identify the superfluid phase closest to Tc at low pressure as the polar state, a phase that is not seen in bulk 3He.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12975
JournalNature communications
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 27 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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