Determination of eh, Using Macroscopic Quantum Phase Coherence in Superconductors: Implications for Quantum Electrodynamics and the Fundamental Physical Constants
Abstract
The implications of the new determination of eh using the ac Josephson effect in superconductors for both quantum electrodynamics (QED) and our knowledge of the fundamental physical constants are analyzed in detail. The implications for QED are investigated by first deriving a value of the fine structure constant α from experimental input data which do not require the use of QED theory for their analysis. These include the Josephsoneffect value of eh, the Faraday constant, the gyromagnetic ratio of the proton, the magnetic moment of the proton in units of the nuclear magneton, the ratio of the ampere as maintained by the United States National Bureau of Standards to the absolute ampere, and certain accurately known auxiliary constants. This is done by critically reevaluating all of the experimental data presently available on these quantities and applying the standard techniques of a least squares adjustment, including tests for imcompatibility. The value of α so obtained is then used to evaluate the theoretical expressions for the Lamb shift and fine structure splitting in hydrogen, deuterium, and ionized helium, the hyperfine splitting in hydrogen, muonium, and positronium, and the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron and muon. These theoretical values are compared with critically reexamined experimental values, thus providing a test of QED in which a priori information from QED itself is not essential. The consequences of the new measurement of eh for our present knowledge of the fundamental physical constants are demonstrated by deriving new "best" values for the fundamental constants from a critically selected subset of all the available data. In addition to providing a consistent set of constants, this analysis focuses attention on areas in which there remain important questions which require clarification. The experimental and theoretical work necessary for the resolution of these questions is discussed, with emphasis on ways in which the study of quantum phase coherence effects in low temperature superfluid systems can make significant contributions.
 Publication:

Reviews of Modern Physics
 Pub Date:
 July 1969
 DOI:
 10.1103/RevModPhys.41.375
 Bibcode:
 1969RvMP...41..375T