Research objectives and content
The aim of the proposal is to study the structure and dynamics of normal and superfluid 4He inside different types of carbon nanotubes. Such nanotubes are providing an environment of extreme confinement (diameters of 7 Ar). Carbon nanotubes are new materials that hold a promise of a vast range of technological applications. Inside a microporous medium the physical properties of a superfluid can be affected for several reasons: viz. confinement, disorder of the pore geometry and lowering of the dimensionality. Studies of superfluid helium in other microporous media with larger pore sizes such as aerogels and vycor have revealed only minor effects, which seems to indicate that the most important factor could be confinement, and that in these systems it was not strong enough. The study of the elementary excitations by means of inelastic neutron scattering and of the structure by neutron diffraction are excellent tools to investigate the microscopic properties of these confined liquids.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The subject presents the possibility to acquire a state-of-the-art knowledge in two important fields of condensed matter physics: viz. the subject of superfluid Helium 11 and the subject of the properties of the nanotubes. The applicant will have a complete mastery of the neutron scattering technique. Moreover both an experimental and a theoretical study will be made in the thesis. As carbon nanotubes are expected to play an important technical role in the future, a good knowledge about their properties could be an important asset in the search for a position after the project is finished.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)