Tuesday, July 30, 2013

1307.7308 (J. J. Wiman et al.)

Superfluid phases of 3He in a periodic confined geometry    [PDF]

J. J. Wiman, J. A. Sauls
Predictions and discoveries of new phases of superfluid 3He in confined geometries, as well as novel topological excitations confined to surfaces and edges of near a bounding surface of 3He, are driving the fields of superfluid 3He infused into porous media, as well as the fabrication of sub-micron to nano-scale devices for controlled studies of quantum fluids. In this report we consider superfluid 3He confined in a periodic geometry, specifically a two-dimensional lattice of square, sub-micron-scale boundaries ("posts") with translational invariance in the third dimension. The equilibrium phase(s) are inhomogeneous and depend on the microscopic boundary conditions imposed by a periodic array of posts. We present results for the order parameter and phase diagram based on strong pair breaking at the boundaries. The ordered phases are obtained by numerically minimizing the Ginzburg-Landau free energy functional. We report results for the weak-coupling limit, appropriate at ambient pressure, as a function of temperature T, lattice spacing L, and post edge dimension, d. For all d in which a superfluid transition occurs, we find a transition from the normal state to a periodic, inhomogeneous "polar" phase with T_c1 < T_c for bulk superfluid 3He. For fixed lattice spacing, L, there is a critical post dimension, d_c, above which only the periodic polar phase is stable. For d < d_c we find a second, low-temperature phase onsetting at T_c2 < T_c1 from the polar phase to a periodic "B-like" phase. The low temperature phase is inhomogeneous, anisotropic and preserves time-reversal symmetry, but unlike the bulk B-phase has only D4h point symmetry.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.7308

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