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Concept# Superfluidity

Summary

Superfluidity is the characteristic property of a fluid with zero viscosity which therefore flows without any loss of kinetic energy. When stirred, a superfluid forms vortices that continue to rotate indefinitely. Superfluidity occurs in two isotopes of helium (helium-3 and helium-4) when they are liquefied by cooling to cryogenic temperatures. It is also a property of various other exotic states of matter theorized to exist in astrophysics, high-energy physics, and theories of quantum gravity. The theory of superfluidity was developed by Soviet theoretical physicists Lev Landau and Isaak Khalatnikov.
Superfluidity often co-occurs with Bose–Einstein condensation, but neither phenomenon is directly related to the other; not all Bose–Einstein condensates can be regarded as superfluids, and not all superfluids are Bose–Einstein condensates.
Superfluid helium-4
Superfluidity was discovered in helium-4 by Pyotr Kapitsa and independently by John F. Allen and Don Misener in 1937. Onnes possibly observed the superfluid phase transition on August 2 1911, the same day that he observed superconductivity in mercury. It has since been described through phenomenology and microscopic theories.
In liquid helium-4, the superfluidity occurs at far higher temperatures than it does in helium-3. Each atom of helium-4 is a boson particle, by virtue of its integer spin. A helium-3 atom is a fermion particle; it can form bosons only by pairing with another particle like itself at much lower temperatures. The discovery of superfluidity in helium-3 was the basis for the award of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics. This process is similar to the electron pairing in superconductivity.
Superfluidity in an ultracold fermionic gas was experimentally proven by Wolfgang Ketterle and his team who observed quantum vortices in lithium-6 at a temperature of 50 nK at MIT in April 2005. Such vortices had previously been observed in an ultracold bosonic gas using rubidium-87 in 2000, and more recently in two-dimensional gases.

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