University of Vermont

Department of Physics: Condensed Matter Theory Group

A One Dimensional Quantum Liquid of Helium

Helium-4 Luttinger Liquid
When helium-4 is confined inside a cylindrical nanopore it forms a series of concentric shells with the central region behaving as a gapless Luttinger liquid

In the latest issue of International Journal of Modern Physics B, Prof. Adrian Del Maestro has confirmed that when indistinguishable atoms of helium-4 are confined to flow inside cylindrical cavities (pores) with a radius approaching a single nanometer they act very differently than in three spatial dimensions.  Using large scale computer simulations, he has shown that helium atoms at the center of pore simultaneously exhibits the properties of both a liquid and a solid and can collectively support low energy gapless excitations.  

This exotic state of matter is known to theorists as a Luttinger liquid and can be fully understood through the use of quantum hydrodynamics.  Prof. Del Maestro describes how this special liquid behaves when the radius of the pore is altered and hopes that his results will lead to the experimental detection of this exotic state of matter.

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