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Testing special relativity using slow light

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Violations of Lorentz invariance in the form of a frame dependence of the speed of light is forbidden by most of modern physics. However, this law is increasingly coming under pressure from theories such as string theory and theories of quantum gravity, which predict violations of Lorentz invariance at some level. This paper presents a concept for a Lorentz invariance test using electromagnetically induced transparency, which, in combination with an effect known as Fresnel drag, can amplify the effect of variations of the speed of light. It is shown how a model apparatus could, in principle, be used to search for frame dependencies in the speed of light to a sensitivity of a part in 10 21 . It is shown that, counter-intuitively, in testing relativistic time dilation, the speed of the particle is not the most important feature and that the test can be performed for relatively small velocities.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sussex, Brighton, Sussex, BN1 9QH, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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