The Zieve lab works primarily in low-temperature experiment, but there are also some projects involving higher temperatures and computer simulations. The lab has a dilution refrigerator that can reach 15 milliKelvin; it is equipped with a helium-activated bellows pressure cell that enables us to apply uniaxial pressure to solid samples and change the pressure at milliKelvin temperatures. Another main piece of low-temperature equipment is a pumped He-3 cryostat with a minimum temperature of 250 milliKelvin. This machine is rotatable, and we use it primarily for creating and studying vortices in superfluid helium.
Computer simulations of superfluid vortices are crucial for interpreting our measurements properly. We have also recently extended the computational work in other directions, testing the effects of the standard periodic boundary conditions by modeling vortex tangles on the three-dimensional "surface" of a four-dimensional sphere.
A separate experiment, designed to foster undergraduate involvement, is room-temperature work on granular piles. We have examined the effect of grain shape on pile density and stability; we are now trying to relate the precise grain configuration to a pile's stability.
The links to the left lead to slightly more detailed descriptions and lists of references.