Three-Dimensional Shapes of Spinning Helium Nanodroplets

Bruno Langbehn, Katharina Sander, Yevheniy Ovcharenko, Christian Peltz, Andrew Clark, Marcello Coreno, Riccardo Cucini, Marcel Drabbels, Paola Finetti, Michele Di Fraia, Luca Giannessi, Cesare Grazioli, Denys Iablonskyi, Aaron C. Laforge, Toshiyuki Nishiyama, Verónica Oliver Álvarez De Lara, Paolo Piseri, Oksana Plekan, Kiyoshi Ueda, Julian ZimmermannKevin C. Prince, Frank Stienkemeier, Carlo Callegari, Thomas Fennel, Daniela Rupp, Thomas Möller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


A significant fraction of superfluid helium nanodroplets produced in a free-jet expansion has been observed to gain high angular momentum resulting in large centrifugal deformation. We measured single-shot diffraction patterns of individual rotating helium nanodroplets up to large scattering angles using intense extreme ultraviolet light pulses from the FERMI free-electron laser. Distinct asymmetric features in the wide-angle diffraction patterns enable the unique and systematic identification of the three-dimensional droplet shapes. The analysis of a large data set allows us to follow the evolution from axisymmetric oblate to triaxial prolate and two-lobed droplets. We find that the shapes of spinning superfluid helium droplets exhibit the same stages as classical rotating droplets while the previously reported metastable, oblate shapes of quantum droplets are not observed. Our three-dimensional analysis represents a valuable landmark for clarifying the interrelation between morphology and superfluidity on the nanometer scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number255301
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 17

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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