Study of Exotic Ions in Superfluid Helium and the Possible Fission of the Electron Wave Function
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- Wei, W., Xie, Z., Cooper, L.N. et al. J Low Temp Phys (2015) 178: 78. doi:10.1007/s10909-014-1224-3
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An electron in liquid helium forces open a cavity referred as an electron bubble. These objects have been studied in many past experiments. It has been discovered that under certain conditions other negatively charged objects can be produced but the nature of these “exotic ions” is not understood. We have made a series of experiments to measure the mobility of these objects, and have detected at least 18 ions with different mobility. We also find strong evidence that in addition to these objects there are ions present which have a continuous distribution of mobility. We then describe experiments in which we attempt to produce exotic ions by optically exciting an electron bubble to a higher energy quantum state. To within the sensitivity of the experiment, we have not been able to detect any exotic ions produced as a result of this process. We discuss three possible explanations for the exotic ions, namely impurities, negative helium ions, and fission of the electron wave function. Each of these explanations has difficulties but as far as we can see, of the three, fission is the only plausible explanation of the results which have been obtained.