Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Shapes of rotating normal fluid He3 versus superfluid He4 droplets in molecular beams


Previous single-pulse extreme ultraviolet and x-ray coherent diffraction studies revealed that superfluid He4 droplets obtained in a free jet expansion acquire sizable angular momentum, resulting in significant centrifugal distortion. Similar experiments with normal fluid He3 droplets may help elucidate the origin of the large degree of rotational excitation and highlight similarities and differences of dynamics in normal and superfluid droplets. Here, we present a comparison of the shapes of isolated He3 and He4 droplets following expansion of the corresponding fluids in vacuum at temperatures as low as ∼2 K. Large He3 and He4 droplets with average radii of ∼160 and ∼350 nm, respectively, were produced. We find that the majority of the shapes of He3 droplets in the beam correspond to rotating oblate spheroids, in agreement with previous observations for He4 droplets. The aspect ratio of the droplets is related to the degree of their rotational excitation, which is discussed in terms of reduced angular momenta (Λ) and reduced angular velocities (ω), the average values of which are found to be similar in both isotopes. This similarity suggests that comparable mechanisms induce rotation regardless of the isotope. We hypothesize that the observed distribution of droplet sizes and angular momenta originates from processes in the dense region close to the nozzle, where a significant velocity spread and frequent collisions between droplets induces excessive rotation followed by droplet fission.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View