Helium supersolids?


In a letter to Nature E. Kim and M. H. W. Chan (Pennsylvania State University, USA) note that when liquid 4He is cooled below 2.176 K, it undergoes a phase transition and becomes a superfluid with zero viscosity. They claim that in addition to superflow in the liquid phase, superflow can also occur under some conditions in the solid phase of one of the helium isotopes (4He), and present results to back this up. In other words - evidence for a "supersolid". A supersolid behaves like a superfluid (flows without resistance) although it has crystalline solid characteristics.1

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Copyright 1993-2011 Mark Winter [The University of Sheffield and WebElements Ltd, UK]. All rights reserved.