Orientational dynamics of superfluid 3He: A "two-fluid" model. II. Orbital dynamics

A. J. Leggett, S. Takagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a phenomenological theory of the homogeneous orbital dynamics of the class of "separable" anisotropic superfluid phases which includes the ABM state generally identified with 3He-A. The theory is developed by analogy with the spin dynamics described in the first paper of this series; the basic variables are the orientation of the Cooper-pair wavefunction (in the ABM phase, the l-vector) and a quantity K which we visualize as the "pseudo-angular momentum" of the Cooper pairs but which must be distinguished, in general, from the total orbital angular momentum of the system. In the ABM case l is the analog of d in the spin dynamics and K of the "superfluid spin" Sp. Important points of difference from the spin case which are taken into account include the fact that a rotation of l without a simultaneous rotation of the normal-component distribution strongly increases the energy of the system ("normal locking"), and that the equilibrium value of K is zero even for finite total angular momentum. The theory does not claim to handle correctly effects associated with any intrinsic angular momentum arising from particle-hole asymmetry, but it is shown that the magnitude of this quantity can be estimated directly from experimental data and is extremely small; also, the Landau damping does not emerge automatically from the theory, but can be put in in an ad hoc way. With these provisos the theory should be valid for all frequencies ω ≪ Δ(T) h {combining short stroke overlay} irrespective of the value of ωτ. (Δ = gap parameter, τ = quasi-particle relaxation time.) It disagrees with all existing phenomenological theories of comparable generality, although the disagreement with that of Volovik and Mineev is confined to the "gapless" region very close to Tc. The phenomenological equations of motion, which are similar in general form to those of the spin dynamics with damping, involve an "orbital susceptibility of the Cooper pairs" χorb(T). We give a possible microscopic definition of the variable K and use it to calculate χorb(T) for a general phase of the "separable" type. The theory is checked by inserting the resulting formula in the phenomenological equations for ωτ ≫ 1 and comparing with the results of a fully microscopic calculation based on the collisionless kinetic equation; precise agreement is obtained for both the ABM and the (real) polar phase, showing that the complex nature of the ABM phase and the associated "pair angular momentum" is largely irrelevant to its orbital dynamics. We note also that the phenomenological theory gives a good qualitative picture even when ω ∼ Δ(T), e.g., for the flapping mode near Tc. Our theory permits a simple and unified calculation of (1) the Cross-Anderson viscous torque in the overdamped regime, (2) the flapping-mode frequency near zero temperature, (3) orbital effects on the NMR, both at low temperatures and near Tc, (4) the orbit wave spectrum at zero temperature (this requires a generalization to inhomogeneous situations which is possible at T = 0 but probably not elsewhere). We also discuss the possibility of experiments of the Einstein-de Haas type. Generally speaking, our results for any one particular application can be also obtained from some alternative theory, but in the case of orbital and spin relaxation very close to Tc (within the "gapless" region) our predictions, while somewhat tentative and qualitative, appear to disagree with those of all existing theories. We discuss briefly how our approach could be extended to apply to more general phases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-406
Number of pages54
JournalAnnals of Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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