Department of Physics
PhD Student Max Graves Selected as Student Poster Competition Finalist
Path Integral Monte Carlo Study of Proximity Effects in Confined Helium-4
- By Adrian G Del Maestro
UVM Materials Science PhD student Max Graves was selected as one of five finalists in the physical science, mathematics and engineering category at the President's Student Poster Competition on Wednesday October 3rd.
Max's poster, entitled "Path Integral Monte Carlo Study of Proximity Effects in Confined Helium-4" displays his recent numerical work on how the thermodynamic properties of Helium-4 atoms confined to localized regions of space are affected by coupling to neighboring regions at low temperatures. This study was motivated by recent experiments performed by the Gasparini group at SUNY Buffalo that showed that Helium-4 under these conditions exhibits an enhanced superfluid response as well as an excess specific heat.
Max and Prof. Del Maestro believe that these strange phenomena are due to the intrinsic indistinguishability of the bosonic Helium-4 atoms, and they plan to test their hypothesis by studying both quantum and classical atoms. For the classical distinguishable atoms, they conjecture that this exotic behavior should be absent, and that the phenomena is a macroscopic manifestion of quantum mechanics.