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Vortex nucleation in He II : an interesting distinction between the intrinsic and thermally activated nucleation mechanisms.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date20/01/1996
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Original languageEnglish


The drift velocity of negative ions in He II, moving under the influence of electric fields large enough to quench the production of charged vortex rings, has been measured for a wide range of pressures and temperatures. It is found that, although the intrinsic (temperature-independent) vortex nucleation mechanism provides a major source of momentum loss, particularly at low pressures, the corresponding effect for the thermally activated (temperature-dependent) mechanism is immeasurably small. The underlying physical reasons for this interesting distinction remain unknown but some possible explanations are discussed.