Spontaneous helical order of a chiral p-wave superfluid confined in nano-scale channels

J. J. Wiman, J. A. Sauls*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strong interactions that favor chiral p-wave pairing, combined with strong pair breaking by confining boundaries, are shown to lead to new equilibrium states with different broken symmetries. Based on a strong-coupling extension of the Ginzburg-Landau (GL) theory that accurately accounts for the thermodynamics and phase diagram of the bulk phases of superfluid 3He, we predict new phases of superfluid 3He for confined geometries that spontaneously break rotational and translational symmetry in combination with parity and time-reversal symmetry. One of the newly predicted phases exhibits a unique combination of chiral and helical order that is energetically stable in cylindrical channels of radius approaching the Cooper pair coherence length, e.g. R ∼ 100nm. Precise numerical mimimization of the free energy yields a broad region of stability of the helical phase as a function of pressure and temperature, in addition to three translationally invariant phases with distinct broken spin- and orbital rotation symmetries. The helical phase is stable at both high and low pressures and favored by boundaries with strong pair-breaking. We present calculations of transverse NMR frequency shifts as functions of rf pulse tipping angle, magnetic field orientation, and temperature as signatures of these broken symmetry phases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Feb 23 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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