Wednesday, March 14, 2018

"Bad fluids" near the superfluid transition

There is an interesting preprint
Viscosity Bound Violation in Viscoelastic Fermi Liquids 
 Matthew P. Gochan, Hua Li, Kevin S. Bedell

They consider the unitary Fermi gas within the framework of Fermi liquid theory. This system undergoes a superfluid transition at a temperature of about 0.17 times T_F (the Fermi temperature). They calculate the shear viscosity as a function of temperature. (I think) the complete temperature dependence is obtained by interpolating between the low-temperature and high-temperature limits.

The motivation for the study is the conjectured universal bound for the ratio of the shear viscosity to the entropy density, based on the AdS-CFT conjecture, beloved by string theorists.

The authors find that the conjectured bound is violated because the viscosity can become arbitrarily small near the superfluid transition due to large scattering from superfluid fluctuations. This is because the mean free path becomes arbitrarily small, i.e. the system is similar to a bad metal.
Unfortunately, the preprint does not reference some earlier relevant work on the shear viscosity of the unitary Fermi gas or on the bad metal near a Mott transition.

I thank Alejandro Mezio for bringing the preprint to my attention.

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