Thermal transport of helium-3 in a strongly confining channel

D. Lotnyk, A. Eyal, N. Zhelev, T. S. Abhilash, E. N. Smith, M. Terilli, J. Wilson, E. Mueller, D. Einzel, J. Saunders, J. M. Parpia (Corresponding Author)

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The investigation of transport properties in normal liquid helium-3 and its topological superfluid phases provides insights into related phenomena in electron fluids, topological materials, and putative topological superconductors. It relies on the measurement of mass, heat, and spin currents, due to system neutrality. Of particular interest is transport in strongly confining channels of height approaching the superfluid coherence length, to enhance the relative contribution of surface excitations, and suppress hydrodynamic counterflow. Here we report on the thermal conduction of helium-3 in a 1.1 μm high channel. In the normal state we observe a diffusive thermal conductivity that is approximately temperature independent, consistent with interference of bulk and boundary scattering. In the superfluid, the thermal conductivity is only weakly temperature dependent, requiring detailed theoretical analysis. An anomalous thermal response is detected in the superfluid which we propose arises from the emission of a flux of surface excitations from the channel.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4843
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


This work was supported at Cornell by the NSF under DMR-1708341, 2002692 (Parpia), PHY-1806357 (Mueller), in London by the EPSRC under EP/J022004/1. John Wilson’s participation was supported in part by the Cornell Center for Materials research with funding from the Research Experience for Undergraduates program (DMR-1719875). In addition, the research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under Grant Agreement no. 824109. Fabrication was carried out at the Cornell Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility (CNF) with assistance and advice from technical staff. The CNF is a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), which is supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant NNCI-1542081).


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