Letter | Published:

Quantum Theory of Liquids

Nature volume 159, page 739 (31 May 1947) | Download Citation



IT occurred to me some time ago that the phenomenon of superfluidity might be qualitatively understood on the basis of the concept of de Broglie waves in analogy to the Ramsauer effect. At sufficiently low temperatures and consequently very small thermal velocities, the de Broglie wave-lengths of the atoms ought to become large compared with the atomic dimensions ; thus the collision cross-sections of the atoms must become very small, and hence all those phenomena which are due to atomic collisions should become insignificant. Consequently, if a substance can exist in the 'liquid state' at all at such a low temperature, it will have a vanishingly small viscosity. I have pointed out this idea in discussions and lectures on the subject in the past, but did not think fit to publish it without a proper quantum-mechanical treatment. It is very satisfactory that this has now been done by Born and Green quite independently, and that the result of their theory essentially confirms the qualitative picture outlined above.

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  1. Birkbeck College, University of London.

    • R. FÜRTH


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