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J. Low Temp. Physics (1999) 115 (1-2) 89-105.
Expansion of Liquid 4He Through the Lambda Transition
M.E. Dodd, P.C. Hendry, N.S. Lawson, P.V.E. McClintock and
Department of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YB (UK)
Department of Physics, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4QL (UK).
(Submitted 08 October 1998; Accepted 30 November 1998)
Zurek suggested [Nature (1985) 317, 505] that the Kibble mechanism, through which topological defects such as cosmic strings are believed to have been created in the early Universe, can also result in the formation of topological defects in liquid 4He, i.e. quantised vortices, during rapid quenches through the superfluid transition. Preliminary experiments [Nature (1994) 368, 315] seemed to support this idea in that the quenches produced the predicted high vortex-densities. The present paper describes a new experiment incorporating a redesigned expansion cell that minimises vortex creation arising from conventional hydrodynamic flow. The post-quench line-densities of vorticity produced by the new cell are no more than 1010m-2, a value that is at least two orders-of-magnitude less than the theoretical prediction. We conclude that most of the vortices detected in the original experiment must have been created through conventional flow processes.
Keywords: liquid helium, vortices, cosmic strings.