Selected Publications
 

The A-B transition in superfluid helium-3 under confinement in a thin slab geometry

N. Zhelev, T. S. Abhilash, E. N. Smith, R. G. Bennett, X. Rojas, L. Levitin, J. Saunders & J. M. Parpia

The influence of confinement on the phases of superfluid helium-3 is studied using the torsional pendulum method. We focus on the transition between the A and B phases, where the A phase is stabilized by confinement and a spatially modulated stripe phase is predicted at the A–B phase boundary. Here we discuss results from superfluid helium-3 contained in a single 1.08-μm-thick nanofluidic cavity incorporated into a high-precision torsion pendulum, and map the phase diagram between 0.1 and 5.6 bar. We observe only small supercooling of the A phase, in comparison to bulk or when confined in aerogel, with evidence for a non-monotonic pressure dependence. This suggests that an intrinsic B-phase nucleation mechanism operates under confinement. Both the phase diagram and the relative superfluid fraction of the A and B phases, show that strong coupling is present at all pressures, with implications for the stability of the stripe phase.


Nature Communications 8, (2017) 15963

doi: doi:10.1038/ncomms15963