The superfluid glass phase of 3 He-A

J. I.A. Li, J. Pollanen, A. M. Zimmerman, C. A. Collett, W. J. Gannon, W. P. Halperin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


It is established theoretically that an ordered state with continuous symmetry is inherently unstable to arbitrarily small amounts of disorder. This principle is of central importance in a wide variety of condensed systems including superconducting vortices, Ising spin models and their dynamics, and liquid crystals in porous media, where some degree of disorder is ubiquitous, although its experimental observation has been elusive. On the basis of these ideas, it was predicted that 3 He in high-porosity aerogel would become a superfluid glass. We report here our nuclear magnetic resonance measurements on 3 He in aerogel demonstrating destruction of long-range orientational order of the intrinsic superfluid orbital angular momentum, confirming the existence of a superfluid glass. In contrast, 3 He-A generated by warming from superfluid 3 He-B has perfect long-range orientational order providing a mechanism for switching offthis effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-779
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to V. V. Dmitriev, M. R. Eskildsen, M. J. P. Gingras, R. Ikeda, J. A. Sauls, J. Saunders, D. Vollhardt and G. E. Volovik for helpful comments and for support from the National Science Foundation, DMR-1103625.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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