Neutron scattering study of the excitation spectrum of solid helium at ultra-low temperatures

Elizabeth Blackburn, John Goodkind, Sunil K. Sinha, Collin Broholm, John Copley, Ross Erwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


There has been a resurgence of interest in the properties of solid helium due to the recent discovery of non-classical rotational inertia (NCRI) in solid 4He by Chan and coworkers below 200 mK which they have interpreted as a transition to a ‘supersolid’ phase. We have carried out a series of elastic and inelastic neutron scattering measurements on single crystals of hcp 4He at temperatures down to 60 mK. While we have found no direct evidence of any change in the excitation spectrum at low temperatures, we have found that the excitation spectrum of solid 4He shows several interesting features, including extra branches in addition to the phonon branches. We interpret these extra branches as single particle excitations due to propagating vacancy waves, which map on to the famous ‘roton minimum’ long known in the excitation spectrum of superfluid liquid 4He. The results show that in fact solid 4He shares several features in common with the superfluid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-678
Number of pages6
JournalPramana-Journal of Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


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