Liquid Helium

Part of the Physics of Solids and Liquids book series (PSLI)


Helium has two common isotopes, 3He and 4He. Each isotope can be separated and a liquid formed at low temperatures which is nearly pure 3He or pure 4He. Each has unusual properties and displays collective behavior of a unique character. The boson liquid 4He shows a phase transition at Tλ = 2.172 K to a superfluid state which is similar to Bose—Einstein condensation, although vastly modified by the strong interparticle interactions. Similarly, the fermion liquid 3He develops a Fermi distribution at low temperature, and the particles have a superfluid transition which is similar to the superconducting transition in a metal. Of course, now it is occurring in a liquid, of electrically neutral atoms, so there is no Meissner effect, but there is pairing. However, it also has a unique character, since the atom avoid the usual singlet pairing common to metals and instead pair with the spins aligned parallel. The triplet pairing, in turn, leads to many new phenomena and a richer phase diagram, which was discovered by Osheroff et al. (1972).


Liquid Helium Ground State Property Ground State Wave Function Average Kinetic Energy Quasi Particle 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National LaboratoryUSA

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