Superfluid phases of He 3 in nanoscale channels

J. J. Wiman, J. A. Sauls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Confinement of superfluid He3 on length scales comparable to the radial size of the p-wave Cooper pairs can greatly alter the phase diagram by stabilizing broken symmetry phases not observed in bulk He3. We consider superfluid He3 confined within long cylindrical channels of radius 100nm, and report new theoretical predictions for the equilibrium superfluid phases under strong confinement. The results are based on the strong-coupling formulation of Ginzburg-Landau (GL) theory with precise numerical minimization of the free energy functional to identify the equilibrium phases and their regions of stability. We introduce an extension of the standard GL strong-coupling theory that accurately accounts for the phase diagram at high pressures, including the tricritical point and TAB(p) line defining the region of stability for the bulk A phase. We also introduce tuneable boundary conditions that allow us to explore boundary scattering ranging from maximal to minimal pairbreaking, and report results for the phase diagram as a function of pressure, temperature, and boundary conditions. Four stable phases are found: a polar phase stable in the vicinity of Tc, a strongly anisotropic, cylindrical analog of the bulk B phase stable at sufficiently low temperatures, and two chiral A-like phases with distinctly different orbital symmetry, one of which spontaneously breaks rotation symmetry about the axis of the cylindrical channel. The relative stability of these phases depends sensitively on pressure and the degree of pairbreaking by boundary scattering. The broken symmetries exhibited by these phases give rise to distinct signatures in transverse nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. We present theoretical results for the transverse NMR frequency shifts as functions of temperature, the rf pulse tipping angle, and the static NMR field orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number144515
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 30 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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