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Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Oct 12;109(15):155301. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Absence of supersolidity in solid helium in porous Vycor glass.

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Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.


In 2004, Kim and Chan carried out torsional oscillator measurements of solid helium confined in porous Vycor glass and found an abrupt drop in the resonant period below 200 mK. The period drop was interpreted as probable experimental evidence of nonclassical rotational inertia. This experiment sparked considerable activities in the studies of superfluidity in solid helium. More recent ultrasound and torsional oscillator studies, however, found evidence that shear modulus stiffening is responsible for at least a fraction of the period drop found in bulk solid helium samples. The experimental configuration of Kim and Chan makes it unavoidable to have a small amount of bulk solid inside the torsion cell containing the Vycor disk. We report here the results of a new helium in Vycor experiment with a design that is completely free from any bulk solid shear modulus stiffening effect. We found no measurable period drop that can be attributed to nonclassical rotational inertia.

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