Thursday, May 12, 2011

Shaking down frozen helium: In a 'supersolid' state, it has liquid-like characteristics

Shaking down frozen helium: In a 'supersolid' state, it has liquid-like characteristics: In fact, in this paper, the researchers show instead a more prosaic explanation: There are moving defects in the solid helium crystals, and their relaxation time falls with rising temperatures. This is more consistent with the torsional oscillation (shaking) experiments conducted at Cornell.
The researchers learned that the unusual properties of solid helium do not reflect a clunky transition between the solid state and a supersolid state. It behaves like a dimmer switch and presents a smooth transition near absolute zero.