We report the first studies of the A-B transition in superfluid 3He confined by microscopically smooth surfaces. The transition exhibited dramatic supercooling, down to 0.15 Tc. The lifetime τ of the metastable A phase has a temperature dependence consistent with Leggett's "baked Alaska" model based on nucleation by ionizing radiation. Radiation sources near the cryostat strongly reduce the lifetime, but do not alter its temperature dependence, and τ increases with increasing magnetic field in accord with Leggett's model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)