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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Aggregation of solutes in bosonic versus fermionic quantum fluids.

  • Author(s): Feinberg, Alexandra J;
  • Verma, Deepak;
  • O'Connell-Lopez, Sean MO;
  • Erukala, Swetha;
  • Tanyag, Rico Mayro P;
  • Pang, Weiwu;
  • Saladrigas, Catherine A;
  • Toulson, Benjamin W;
  • Borgwardt, Mario;
  • Shivaram, Niranjan;
  • Lin, Ming-Fu;
  • Al Haddad, Andre;
  • Jäger, Wolfgang;
  • Bostedt, Christoph;
  • Walter, Peter;
  • Gessner, Oliver;
  • Vilesov, Andrey F
  • et al.

Quantum fluid droplets made of helium-3 (3He) or helium-4 (4He) isotopes have long been considered as ideal cryogenic nanolabs, enabling unique ultracold chemistry and spectroscopy applications. The droplets were believed to provide a homogeneous environment in which dopant atoms and molecules could move and react almost as in free space but at temperatures close to absolute zero. Here, we report ultrafast x-ray diffraction experiments on xenon-doped 3He and 4He nanodroplets, demonstrating that the unavoidable rotational excitation of isolated droplets leads to highly anisotropic and inhomogeneous interactions between the host matrix and enclosed dopants. Superfluid 4He droplets are laced with quantum vortices that trap the embedded particles, leading to the formation of filament-shaped clusters. In comparison, dopants in 3He droplets gather in diffuse, ring-shaped structures along the equator. The shapes of droplets carrying filaments or rings are direct evidence that rotational excitation is the root cause for the inhomogeneous dopant distributions.

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