Journal of Low Temperature Physics

, Volume 109, Issue 5–6, pp 709–732 | Cite as

Electrostatic charging and levitation of Helium II drops

  • Joseph J. Niemela


Liquid Helium II drops, of diameter 1 mm or less, are charged with positive helium ions and subsequently levitated by static electric fields. Stable levitation was achieved for drops of order 100–150 micrometers in diameter. The suspended drops could be translated to arbitrary positions within the levitator using additional superimposed DC electric fields, and also could be made to oscillate stably about their average positions by means of an applied time-varying electric field. A weak corona discharge was used to produce the necessary ions for levitation. A novel superfluid film flow device, developed for the controlled deployment of large charged drops, is described. Also discussed is an adjustable electric fountain that requires only a field emission tip operating at modest potentials, and works in both Helium I and Helium II.


Corona Discharge Electrostatic Charge Ring Electrode Film Flow Field Ionization 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph J. Niemela
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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