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New chiral phases of superfluid ^3He stabilized by anisotropic silica aerogel

Pollanen, J. and Li, J. I. A. and Collett, C. A. and Gannon, W. J. and Halperin, W. P. and Sauls, J. A. (2012) New chiral phases of superfluid ^3He stabilized by anisotropic silica aerogel. Nature Physics, 8 (4). pp. 317-320. ISSN 1745-2473. doi:10.1038/nphys2220.

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A rich variety of Fermi systems condense by forming bound pairs, including high-temperature and heavy-fermion superconductors, Sr_2RuO_4 (ref. 3), cold atomic gases and superfluid ^3He (ref. 5). Some of these form exotic quantum states with non-zero orbital angular momentum. We have discovered, in the case of ^3He, that anisotropic disorder, engineered from highly porous silica aerogel, stabilizes a chiral superfluid state that otherwise would not exist. Furthermore, we find that the chiral axis of this state can be uniquely oriented with the application of a magnetic field perpendicular to the aerogel anisotropy axis. At sufficiently low temperature we observe a sharp transition from a uniformly oriented chiral state to a disordered structure consistent with locally ordered domains, contrary to expectations for a superfluid glass phase.

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Additional Information:© 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 25 November 2011; accepted 6 January 2012; published online 12 February 2012. We are grateful to J. M. Parpia, V. V. Dmitriev, G. E. Volovik, N. Mulders, K. R. Shirer, A. M. Mounce and Y. Lee for discussion and to the National Science Foundation, DMR-1103625, DMR-0805277 and DMR-1106315, for support. Experimental work and analysis was principally carried out by J.P. assisted by J.I.A.L. with further support from C.A.C. and W.J.G. Advice and assistance was provided by W.P.H. (experiment) and J.A.S. (theory).
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Deposited On:31 May 2013 22:58
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:39

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