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The Supersolid Phase of Matter

Speaker: Matthias Troyer, ETH Zurich
Date & Time: February 12, 2008 - 1:30pm
Location: Room 385E Serin Physics Lab


The Supersolid Phase of Matter
Physics and Astronomy


Matthias Troyer, ETH Zurich 1:30 p.m. Room 385E Serin Physics Lab

For nearly half a century the supersolid phase of matter has remained
mysterious, not only eluding experimental observation, but also generating a great deal of controversy among theorists. Recent discovery of a non-classical moment of inertia at low temperature in solid Helium-4 [1,2] has stirred much excitement as a possible first observation of a supersolid. I will review the experiments and present our large-scale quantum Monte Carlo simulations [3-5]
of supersolid behavior in Helium crystals. While we find that a perfect quantum crystal of Helium is insulating [3], we also find that crystallographic defects such as grain boundaries[4] and dislocations[5] can carry superflow. I will finally touch on the question of what is needed to observe a supersolid in a perfect quantum crystal.


[1] E. Kim and M. H.W. Chan, Nature (London) 427, 225 (2004).
[2] E. Kim and M. H.W. Chan, Science 305, 1941 (2004).
[3] M. Boninsegni, A. Kuklov, L. Pollet, N. Prokof'ev, B. Svistunov,
M. Troyer, Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 080401 (2006).
[4] L. Pollet, M. Boninsegni, A. Kuklov, N. Prokof'ev, B. Svistunov,
M. Troyer, Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 135301 (2007).
[5] M. Boninsegni, A. Kuklov, L. Pollet, N. Prokof'ev, B. Svistunov,
M. Troyer, Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 035301 (2007).

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