The Shadow Path integral Ground State method: New light into the Physics of Quantum Solids


Due to the small masses of the atoms and the weak interatomic binding,
solid 4He is a prototype of what is called a quantum solid, that is a
solid in which atoms, due to their zero-point motion, execute very large
amplitude vibrations around their lattice sites and explore a sizeable
fraction of the primitive cells. This fact opens a scenario in which
processes like exchanges between particles or delocalized defects are
allowed; such processes could in principle allow one to observe, in a
macroscopic domain, phenomena displaying the fundamental laws of Quantum
Mechanics which governs the microphysics of the system. By means of a
Monte Carlo technique, the Shadow Path Integral Ground State method,
which allows one to evaluate exact properties of the T=0K physics of
the system, we are studying on the properties on the system when vacancies
are present; such point-defects could play a very important role in a
probable transition to a "supersolid" phase.

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