The transverse acoustic response of superfluid3He-B

S. Kalbfeld*, D. M. Kucera, John B Ketterson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


For both normal and superfluid3He, the propagation of a collisionless transverse sound mode is predicted. The study of this mode in the normal fluid has been problematic: it travels only slightly faster than the Fermi velocity and is very highly attenuated. Early theoretical results suggested that transverse sound would not propagate in the superfluid and the experimental study of this mode was not actively pursued. However, recent theoretical work has predicted that this mode should indeed propagate, at sufficiently high frequencies and low temperatures, due to the interaction with the imaginary squashing mode. We present here an extensive experimental study of the transverse acoustic response in the B phase of superfluid3He. These measurements were performed on a short path length (30.5 microns) acoustic cavity, using a continuous wave, single ended, acoustic impedance technique. Simultaneous measurements were made of the longitudinal acoustic response, on an adjacent acoustic cavity of similar geometry. Both sound modes were excited at a frequency of 61 MHz. With this arrangement, well understood features in the longitudinal acoustic response were used as fiducial points for the study of heretofore ambiguous or unobserved features in the transverse acoustic response. As predicted by recent theoretical calculations, the transverse acoustic response was markedly different when the sound frequency was greater than the imaginary squashing mode frequency, as compared to when the sound frequency was less than the imaginary squashing mode frequency. At lower pressures the transverse acoustic response clearly exhibited the signatures of an evolving standing wave pattern (with the transverse sound velocity much less than the longitudinal sound velocity), and as such provides convincing evidence of a propagating transverse mode.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-589
Number of pages41
JournalJournal of Low Temperature Physics
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Mar 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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