Experimental Investigation of Multielectron Bubbles in Liquid Helium
MetadataShow full item record
Multielectron bubbles (MEBs) are micron sized cavities in liquid helium that contain electrons confined within a nanometer thick layer on the inner surface of a bubble. These objects present a rich platform to study the behavior of a two dimensional electron gas (2DES) on a curved surface. Most crucially, the surface electron densities in MEBs can vary over a wide range, making it a suitable candidate for studying classical Wigner crystallization and quantum melting in a single system. So far, there has been only limited experimental study of MEBs, with most of the previous investigation transient in nature. As we discuss in our presentation, we have built a cryogenic system for performing transport and optical measurements of MEBs down to 1.3 K. We have developed a new technique of generating MEBs, and trapping them using two different methods. In the first method, we trapped MEBs using a Paul trap for more than hundreds of milliseconds. This allows the MEBs to be further manipulated with buoyant and electric forces, such as to obtain reliable measurements of their physical properties. As we observe experimentally, the surface charge density of a single MEB can vary by orders of magnitude during the course of one measurement, thereby covering a previously unexplored section of the 2DES phase diagram. In the second method, we trapped MEBs using a dielectric coated metal electrode over many seconds. This also allowed the properties of MEBs to be measured in a non-destructive manner. Since MEBs are charged bubbles, their motion can be controlled by electric fields, which allowed us to measure the drag of MEBs as a function of Reynolds number by analysing the trajectories. Due to the low viscosity and surface tension of helium compared to other liquids, these measurements could be performed at Morton Numbers that have never been explored. We also show that how the shape of a single MEB evolves from spherical to ellipsoidal as their speeds vary. During the course of experiments, we observed number of interesting phenomena, such as coalescence of similarly charged bubbles, as well as their splitting into secondary bubbles at high speeds. Most interestingly, we have imaged their dynamics in the presence of static, as well as oscillating electric fields, which may provide insight into the phase of the electronic system present inside the bubbles.
- Physics (PHY)