Magnetic Levitation of Liquid Helium

Document Type



Physics (Pomona)

Publication Date



liquid helium, magnetic trap, coalesce, evaporation, Leidenfrost effect


We report on the stable levitation of liquid helium drops of up to 2 cm diameter in a magnetic trap at temperatures down to 1.5 K in the earth's gravitational field. The production and properties of a magnetic trap for diamagnetic materials is discussed. The behavior of liquids in such a trap is analyzed, including the deformation of a liquid drop by the trap forces. We frequently observe two drops in the magnetic trap which are held in apparent contact for up to 3 minutes without coalescing. This non-coalescence effect was only seen above the superfluid transition temperature. We explain this effect in terms of the existence of a vapor layer between the drops caused by evaporation of the drops, much like the suspension of a liquid drop above a hot surface known as the Leidenfrost effect.

Rights Information

© 1997 Plenum Publishing Corporation; © Springer, Part of Springer Science+Business Media

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.