Supercooling of the A phase of 3He
Because of the extreme purity, lack of disorder, and complex order parameter, the first-order superfluid 3He Aâ€“B transition is the leading model system for first order transitions in the early universe. Here we report on the path dependence of the supercooling of the A phase over a wide range of pressures below 29.3 bar at nearly zero magnetic field. The A phase can be cooled significantly below the thermodynamic Aâ€“B transition temperature. While the extent of supercooling is highly reproducible, it depends strongly upon the cooling trajectory: The metastability of the A phase is enhanced by transiting through regions where the A phase is more stable. We provide evidence that some of the additional supercooling is due to the elimination of B phase nucleation precursors formed upon passage through the superfluid transition. A greater understanding of the physics is essential before 3He can be exploited to model transitions in the early universe. Â© 2023, The Author(s).