Journal of Low Temperature Physics

, Volume 106, Issue 1, pp 101–131

Magnetic Levitation of liquid helium


  • M. A. Weilert
    • Department of PhysicsBrown University
  • D. L. Whitaker
    • Department of PhysicsBrown University
  • H. J. Maris
    • Department of PhysicsBrown University
  • G. M. Seidel
    • Department of PhysicsBrown University

DOI: 10.1007/BF02403919

Cite this article as:
Weilert, M.A., Whitaker, D.L., Maris, H.J. et al. J Low Temp Phys (1997) 106: 101. doi:10.1007/BF02403919


We report on the stable levitation of liquid helium drops of up to 2 cm diameter in a magnetic trap at temperatures down to 1.5 K in the earth's gravitational field. The production and properties of a magnetic trap for diamagnetic materials is discussed. The behavior of liquids in such a trap is analyzed, including the deformation of a liquid drop by the trap forces. We frequently observe two drops in the magnetic trap which are held in apparent contact for up to 3 minutes without coalescing. This non-coalescence effect was only seen above the superfluid transition temperature. We explain this effect in terms of the existence of a vapor layer between the drops caused by evaporation of the drops, much like the suspension of a liquid drop above a hot surface known as the Leidenfrost effect.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997