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Opportunities for High-Resolution Measurements and Microgravity Research near the Superfluid

Summary: Opportunities for High-Resolution Measurements
and Microgravity Research near the Superfluid
Transition of Liquid 4
Guenter Ahlers
Department of Physics and Center for Nonlinear Science, University of California
at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
Six years ago an experiment to determine the specific heat of liquid helium
near the superfluid transition in a microgravity environment opened up a
new era of very-high resolution measurements. Recently this led to the es-
tablishment of the Fundamental Physics Discipline by NASA for the support
of microgravity research in low-temperature/condensed-matter physics, laser
cooling and atomic physics, and gravitation and relativity. This paper de-
scribes very-high resolution and microgravity research in one particular sub-
field of low-temperature physics, namely the superfluid transition of 4He, in
order to illustrate the diverse research opportunities which exist within the
Discipline. The effect of gravity on this system will be illustrated. Projects
carried out already and expected to be undertaken in the near future on criti-
cal phenomena, surface effects, and non-equilibrium phenomena, will be dis-
cussed. These include measurements of the specific heat and the thermal


Source: Ahlers, Guenter - Department of Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara


Collections: Physics