Friday, February 18, 2011
Experimental evidence adds to the likelihood of the existence of supersolids, an exotic phase of matter
Experimental evidence adds to the likelihood of the existence of supersolids, an exotic phase of matter: The reduction in the rotational inertia of a bar of solid helium-4 as it was cooled to very low temperatures provided the first experimental evidence for supersolids. Physicists interpreted the reduction to mean that some amount of supersolid helium had formed and decoupled from the remainder of the bar, affecting its rotational inertia and frequency. Others argued that the reduction in inertia resulted from a change in the helium’s viscosity and elasticity with temperature, rather than from the onset of supersolidity.