Chiral Symmetry Breaking in Superfluid 3He-A

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Abstract

Spontaneous symmetry breaking is an important concept in many branches of physics. In helium-3 (3He), the breaking of symmetry leads to the orbital chirality in the superfluid phase known as 3He-A. Chirality is a fundamental property of 3He-A, but its direct detection has been challenging. We report direct detection of chirality by transport measurements of electrons trapped below a free surface of 3He-A. In particular, we observed the so-called intrinsic Magnus force experienced by a moving electron; the direction of the force directly reflected the chirality. We further showed that, at the superfluid transition, the system selected either right- or left-handed chirality. The observation of such selection directly demonstrates chiral symmetry breaking.

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