Variational Monte Carlo calculations of ground states of liquid He4 and He3 drops

Phys. Rev. B 34, 4571 – Published 1 October 1986
V. R. Pandharipande, Steven C. Pieper, and R. B. Wiringa


Variational Monte Carlo calculations of the ground states of drops containing 8728 atoms of He4 and 20240 atoms of He3 have been made. The variational wave functions include two- and three-body correlations and (for the Fermi drops) Feynman-Cohen backflow. We discuss the wave functions, their relation to modern variational wave functions for liquid He4 and He3, the calculational techniques, and the results for the ground-state energies and density profiles. Our calculations indicate that He3 drops with more than 40 atoms are bound, while a drop with 20 atoms is in a metastable state that has positive energy but negative chemical potential. The surface tensions of both liquid He4 and He3 are obtained by liquid-drop fits to the calculated binding energies. From the density profiles of the largest drops we estimate the surface thickness of liquid He4 to be 7 Å while that for liquid He3 is 8 Å.


  • Received 13 March 1986
  • Published in the issue dated 1 October 1986

© 1986 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

V. R. Pandharipande

  • Department of Physics and Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801

Steven C. Pieper and R. B. Wiringa

  • Physics Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439-4843

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