Defects and glassy dynamics in solid 4He: Perspectives and current status

A. V. Balatsky*, M. J. Graf, Z. Nussinov, Jung-Jung Su

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We review the anomalous behavior of solid 4He at low temperatures with particular attention to the role of structural defects present in solid. The discussion centers around the possible role of two level systems and structural glassy components for inducing the observed anomalies. We propose that the origin of glassy behavior is due to the dynamics of defects like dislocations formed in 4He. Within the developed framework of glassy components in a solid, we give a summary of the results and predictions for the effects that cover the mechanical, thermodynamic, viscoelastic, and electro-elastic contributions of the glassy response of solid 4He. Our proposed glass model for solid 4He has several implications: (1) The anomalous properties of 4He can be accounted for by allowing defects to freeze out at lowest temperatures. The dynamics of solid 4He is governed by glasslike (glassy) relaxation processes and the distribution of relaxation times varies significantly between different torsional oscillator, shear modulus, and dielectric function experiments. (2) Any defect freeze-out will be accompanied by thermodynamic signatures consistent with entropy contributions from defects. It follows that such entropy contribution is much smaller than the required superfluid fraction, yet it is sufficient to account for excess entropy at lowest temperatures. (3) We predict a Cole-Cole type relation between the real and imaginary part of the response functions for rotational and planar shear that is occurring due to the dynamics of defects. Similar results apply for other response functions. (4) Using the framework of glassy dynamics, we predict low-frequency yet to be measured electro-elastic features in defect rich 4He crystals. These predictions allow one to directly test the ideas and very presence of glassy contributions in 4He.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-421
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Low Temperature Physics
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Dielectric function
  • Electro-elastic
  • Glass
  • Shear modulus
  • Solid helium
  • Supersolid
  • Thermodynamics
  • Torsional oscillator
  • Viscoelastic


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