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      Observation of metastable hcp solid helium

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          Abstract

          We have produced and observed metastable solid helium-4 below its melting pressure between 1.1 K and 1.4 K. This is achieved by an intense pressure wave carefully focused inside a crystal of known orientation. An accurate density map of the focal zone is provided by an optical interferometric technique. Depending on the sample, minimum density achieved at focus corresponds to pressures between 2 and 4 bar below the static melting pressure. Beyond, the crystal undergoes an unexpected instability much earlier than the predicted spinodal limit. This opens a novel opportunity to study this quantum crystal in an expanded metastable state and its stability limits.

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          Melting mechanisms at the limit of superheating.

          The atomic-scale details during melting of a surface-free Lennard-Jones crystal were monitored using molecular dynamics simulations. Melting occurs when the superheated crystal spontaneously generates a sufficiently large number of spatially correlated destabilized particles that simultaneously satisfy the Lindemann and Born instability criteria. The accumulation and coalescence of these internal local lattice instabilities constitute the primary mechanism for homogeneous melt nucleation inside the crystal, in lieu of surface nucleation for equilibrium melting. The vibrational and elastic lattice instability criteria as well as the homogeneous nucleation theory all coincide in determining the superheating limit.
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            The enigma of supersolidity.

            S. Balibar (2010)
            A 'supersolid' is a quantum solid in which a fraction of the mass is superfluid. As a remarkable consequence, it is rigid, but part of its mass is able to flow owing to quantum physical processes. This paradoxical state of matter was considered as a theoretical possibility as early as 1969, but its existence was discovered only in 2004, in (4)He. Since then, intense experimental and theoretical efforts have been made to explain the origins of this exotic state of matter. It now seems that its physical interpretation is more complicated than originally thought.
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              Melting and superheating of crystalline solids: From bulk to nanocrystals

              K. Lu, Q.S. Mei (2007)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                09 June 2011
                2011-08-05
                Article
                10.1209/0295-5075/95/66001
                1106.1877
                5b23e182-ee36-4140-80a1-cb873c3176d5

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

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                Custom metadata
                deuxi\`eme version
                cond-mat.mtrl-sci
                ccsd

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