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  1. Abstract Because of the extreme purity, lack of disorder, and complex order parameter, the first-order superfluid 3 He A–B transition is the leading model system for first order transitions in the early universe. Here we report on the path dependence of the supercooling of the A phase over a wide range of pressures below 29.3 bar at nearly zero magnetic field. The A phase can be cooled significantly below the thermodynamic A–B transition temperature. While the extent of supercooling is highly reproducible, it depends strongly upon the cooling trajectory: The metastability of the A phase is enhanced by transiting through regions where the A phase is more stable. We provide evidence that some of the additional supercooling is due to the elimination of B phase nucleation precursors formed upon passage through the superfluid transition. A greater understanding of the physics is essential before 3 He can be exploited to model transitions in the early universe.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Abstract Superfluid 3 He, with unconventional spin-triplet p-wave pairing, provides a model system for topological superconductors, which have attracted significant interest through potential applications in topologically protected quantum computing. In topological insulators and quantum Hall systems, the surface/edge states, arising from bulk-surface correspondence and the momentum space topology of the band structure, are robust. Here we demonstrate that in topological superfluids and superconductors the surface Andreev bound states, which depend on the momentum space topology of the emergent order parameter, are fragile with respect to the details of surface scattering. We confine superfluid 3 He within a cavity of height D comparable to the Cooper pair diameter ξ 0 . We precisely determine the superfluid transition temperature T c and the suppression of the superfluid energy gap, for different scattering conditions tuned in situ, and compare to the predictions of quasiclassical theory. We discover that surface magnetic scattering leads to unexpectedly large suppression of T c , corresponding to an increased density of low energy bound states.
  3. Abstract The investigation of transport properties in normal liquid helium-3 and its topological superfluid phases provides insights into related phenomena in electron fluids, topological materials, and putative topological superconductors. It relies on the measurement of mass, heat, and spin currents, due to system neutrality. Of particular interest is transport in strongly confining channels of height approaching the superfluid coherence length, to enhance the relative contribution of surface excitations, and suppress hydrodynamic counterflow. Here we report on the thermal conduction of helium-3 in a 1.1  μ m high channel. In the normal state we observe a diffusive thermal conductivity that is approximately temperature independent, consistent with interference of bulk and boundary scattering. In the superfluid, the thermal conductivity is only weakly temperature dependent, requiring detailed theoretical analysis. An anomalous thermal response is detected in the superfluid which we propose arises from the emission of a flux of surface excitations from the channel.