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  • 2020wilcoxphd

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Progress towards an improved quasiparticle camera In superfluid 3He-B

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2020
Number of pages137
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The superfluid state, often obtained in the laboratory using liquid helium at very low temperatures, provides the basis for a wide range of interesting experiments. One large field of research relates to the study of turbulence in a superfluid, referred to as quantum turbulence due to the importance of quantum mechanical behaviour in the description of this phenomenon. An important experimental tool in the study of quantum turbulence is the mechanical resonator, with many different types of oscillator seeing use. Variations in the resonance can be related to the properties of the fluid through an understanding of the drag applied to the object.

The many seemingly disparate measurements reported here were performed in the hope of providing background for future development of improved experimental techniques. In an effort to develop an improved method for determining oscillator properties, measurements have been made using a multifrequency lock-in amplifier in superfluid 4He. The results obtained show that the multifrequency lock-in can be used to obtain results equivalent to
the traditional method while reducing the time required.

Due to the possibility of vastly increased sensitivity to changes in effective mass, tests were performed in 4He using a new form of oscillator with a 100 nm by 100 nm square cross-section, significantly smaller than other available devices. The resonant frequency of these resonators, referred to as nanobeams, was varied from 0.6 MHz to 8.5 MHz by using beams of different length. Measurements of the resonator response as a function of temperature show that the beams can successfully probe the fluid, though the current theory is found to be insufficient to exactly quantify the dependence seen. A possible
observation of turbulence generated by a nanobeam is also reported. Despite an observed critical velocity significantly different to theoretical predictions, all other measurements are consistent with a turbulent transition.

As the eventual goal is to use nanobeams for measurements in 3He-B, the drag on high frequency oscillators in 3He-B was also studied. Measurements on 4 devices of different frequencies found that the current model of damping remains adequate beyond the expected frequency limit for this model. Observations of anomalous increases in the damping for a single resonator in 3He-B are also discussed. As this unexpected damping is only seen for
small, sensitive resonators there is concern that similar effects could hinder interpretation of future nanobeam measurements in 3He-B. Efforts were made to understand the source of this damping, and hence explain why it is seen for only one of three nominally identical oscillators, though no conclusive explanation could be found.