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Surface of a He-3 crystal: Crossover from quantum to classical behavior.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Igor A. Todoshchenko
  • Harry Alles
  • Heikki J. Junes
  • Alexander Y. Parshin
  • Viktor Tsepelin
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2004
<mark>Journal</mark>Physical Review Letters
<mark>Original language</mark>English


He-3 crystals start to show facets on their surface only at about 100 mK, well below the roughening transition temperature. To understand the reason for that, we have performed the first quantitative investigation on the growth dynamics of the basic (110) facet at 60-110 mK. The obtained values of the step free energy suggest an extremely weak coupling of the solid-liquid interface to the crystal lattice which we show to be the result of quantum fluctuations of the interface. The renormalization group approach by Nozieres and Gallet, modified to incorporate quantum fluctuations, explains well the temperature dependence of the step energy measured in this work and at ultralow temperatures by Tsepelin et al., where the coupling is known to be strong. We have thus shown that, paradoxically, the role of quantum fluctuations is at higher temperatures much larger than at low temperature.