Physical Review Letters

Quantum transport in mesoscopic He3 films: Experimental study of the interference of bulk and boundary scattering

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We discuss the mass transport of a degenerate Fermi liquid He3 film over a rough surface, and the film momentum relaxation time, in the framework of theoretical predictions. In the mesoscopic regime, the anomalous temperature dependence of the relaxation time is explained in terms of the interference between elastic boundary scattering and inelastic quasiparticle-quasiparticle scattering within the film. We exploit a quasiclassical treatment of quantum size effects in the film in which the surface roughness, whose power spectrum is experimentally determined, is mapped into an effective disorder potential within a film of uniform thickness. Confirmation is provided by the introduction of elastic scattering centers within the film. The improved understanding of surface roughness scattering may impact on enhancing the conductivity in thin metallic films. © 2011 American Physical Society.