Microscopic superfluidity in 4He clusters stirred by a rotating impurity molecule

Angeline Wairegi, Antonio Gamboa, Andrew Burbanks, Ernestine A. Lee, David Farrelly

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The effective moment of inertia of a CO impurity molecule in 4HeN and p−(H2)N solvent clusters initially increases with N but then commences a nonclassical decrease at N=4 (4He) or N=6 (p−H2). This suggests molecule-solvent decoupling and a transition to microscopic superfluidity. However, the quantum decoupling mechanism has not been elucidated. To understand the decoupling mechanism, a one-dimensional model is introduced in which the 4He atoms are confined to a ring. This model captures the physics and shows that decoupling happens primarily because of bosonic solvent-solvent repulsion. Quantum Monte Carlo and basis set calculations suggest that the system can be modeled as a stirred Tonks-Girardeau gas. This allows the N-particle time-dependent Schrödinger equation to be solved directly. Computations of the integrated particle current reveal a threshold for stirring and current generation, indicative of superfluidity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143401
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2014


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  • Utah State University

    Andrew Burbanks (Visiting researcher)

    27 May 20037 Jun 2003

    Activity: Visiting an external organisation typesVisiting an external academic institution

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