Selected Publications
 

Dislocations in a quantum crystal: Solid helium: A model and an exception

Sébastien Balibar, John Beamish, Andrew Fefferman, Ariel Haziot, Xavier Rojas, Fabien Souris

Solid helium is paradoxical: it is both a model and an exception. It is a model for crystal properties mainly because of its extreme purity which makes universal phenomena simpler and easier to identify. It is also exceptional because the large quantum fluctuations of atoms around the nodes in their crystal lattice allow these phenomena to occur at very low temperature with a large amplitude. As noticed by Jacques Friedel in 2013, the properties of helium 4 crystals illustrate how the motion of dislocations may reduce their shear elastic modulus, as it does in all hexagonal close packed (hcp) crystals including metals. But this motion takes place without any dissipation in the limit of T=0 and in the absence of impurities, which is now exceptional and leads to an elastic anomaly at low temperature, which was called “giant plasticity” by Haziot et al. in 2013. More recently, we have discovered that, in helium-4 crystals, helium-3 impurities are not necessarily fixed pinning centers for dislocations. Even at relatively large velocities, dislocations are able to move dressed with impurities somehow as a necklace of atomic pearls through the periodic lattice. This illustrates what is really quantum in these crystals: it is mainly the dynamics of their dislocations and the behavior of impurities.


Comptes Rendus Physique, Elsevier Masson, Condensed matter physics in the 21st century: The legacy of Jacques Friedel, 17 (3-4) (2016) 264-275.

doi: 10.1016/j.crhy.2015.12.015