The search for variation of the fundamental constants such as the fine structure constant $\alpha$ ($\alpha=e^2/\hbar c$) and the ratios of fundamental masses (e.g., electron to proton mass ratio $\mu=m_e/m_p$) is reviewed. Strong emphasis is given to establishing the relationships between the change in the measured frequencies of atomic, molecular or nuclear transitions and the corresponding change of the fundamental constants. Transitions in which the sensitivity of the frequency change to the variation of the fine structure constant is strongly enhanced are discussed and most recent experimental results are presented. Most attention is given to the use of atomic, molecular and nuclear transitions in the study of quasar absorption spectra and in atomic clock experiments.
Canadian Journal of Physics
- Pub Date:
- Physics - Atomic Physics
- 9 pages. Based on the talk at the Symposium on Atomic Physics: A Tribute to Walter Johnson, Notre Dame, 4 April 2008. Cited numbers corrected