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Electric dipole moments of charged particles

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The existence of an electric dipole moment (edm) on a fundamental atomic particle would imply violation of both parity and time-reversal invariance. An edm on a neutral particle is detectable through its interaction with an applied electric field. The search for edms on charged particles such as the nucleus or the electron is made difficult by their acceleration in an electric field; conversely, a charged particle in equilibrium must be shielded from the field and the edm interaction will then vanish. A number of ingenious ways around this shielding theorem are discussed, as are the use of polar molecules to amplify the residual edm interactions. A range of atomic and molecular beam and optical pumping experiments are described and the results tabulated. The implications for particle theories beyond the standard model are briefly summarized.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2001

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