Ions at helium interfaces

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Abstract

The boundaries between different phases of condensed helium provide an interesting testing ground for studying ions in a quantum matter matrix. Here we consider the simplest positive and negative ions in helium — snowballs and electron bubbles, respectively — being trapped at the liquid-liquid interface of phaseseparated3He−4He mixtures and at the liquid-solid interface of4He. A comparison of experimental results for the trapping with predictions of the snowball and the bubble models shows that the models are in qualitative accord with the observations, but disagree in detail. It is suggested to use such studies for refinements of the ion models. In addition multielectron bubbles (=mesoscopic ions) and electrons on helium films are briefly discussed.