Faculté des sciences

Positive Ion Induced Solidification of ⁴He

Moroshkin, Peter ; Lebedev, Victor ; Weis, Antoine

In: Physical Review Letters, 2009, vol. 102, no. 11, p. 115301

We have observed bulk solidification of ⁴He induced by nucleation on positive alkali ions in pressurized superfluid helium. The ions are extracted into the liquid from alkali-doped solid He by a static electric field. The experiments prove the existence of charged particles in a solid structure composed of doped He that was recently shown to coexist with superfluid helium below the He... Plus

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    Summary
    We have observed bulk solidification of ⁴He induced by nucleation on positive alkali ions in pressurized superfluid helium. The ions are extracted into the liquid from alkali-doped solid He by a static electric field. The experiments prove the existence of charged particles in a solid structure composed of doped He that was recently shown to coexist with superfluid helium below the He solidification pressure. This supports our earlier suggestion that the Coulomb interaction of positive ions surrounded by a solid He shell (snowballs) and electrons trapped in spherical cavities (electron bubbles), together with surface tension, is responsible for the stability of that structure against melting. We have determined the density of charges in the sample by two independent methods.