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Macroscopic quantum tunnelling of vortices in He II.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date15/02/1988
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Number of pages4
Original languageEnglish


Experimental evidence is presented showing that the creation of vortices in He II involves macroscopic quantum tunneling through, or thermal activation over, a potential-energy barrier E. The investigations, based on measurements of the rate at which negative ions create vortex rings in the isotopically pure superfluid within the temperature range 50 < T < 500 mK, have yielded a barrier height of E/kB = 3.1 ± 0.1 K, in excellent agreement with the theoretical value predicted by Muirhead, Vinen, and Donnelly.