Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Microwave and submillimeter molecular transitions and their dependence on fundamental constants

  • Kozlov, M. G.
  • Levshakov, S. A.
Publication Date
Apr 16, 2013
Submission Date
Apr 16, 2013
DOI: 10.1002/andp201300010
arXiv ID: 1304.4510
External links


Microwave and submillimeter molecular transition frequencies between nearly degenerated rotational levels, tunneling transitions, and mixed tunneling-rotational transitions show an extremely high sensitivity to the values of the fine-structure constant, alpha, and the electron-to-proton mass ratio, mu. This review summarizes the theoretical background on quantum-mechanical calculations of the sensitivity coefficients of such transitions to tiny changes in alpha and mu for a number of molecules which are usually observed in Galactic and extragalactic sources, and discusses the possibility of testing the space- and time-invariance of fundamental constants through comparison between precise laboratory measurements of the molecular rest frequencies and their astronomical counterparts. In particular, diatomic radicals CH, OH, NH+, and a linear polyatomic radical C3H in Pi electronic ground state, polyatomic molecules NH3, ND3, NH2D, NHD2, H2O2, H3O+, CH3OH, and CH3NH2 in their tunneling and tunneling-rotational modes are considered. It is shown that sensitivity coefficients strongly depend on the quantum numbers of the corresponding transitions. This can be used for astrophysical tests of Einstein's Equivalence Principle all over the Universe at an unprecedented level of sensitivity of ~10^-9, which is a limit three to two orders of magnitude lower as compared to the current constraints on cosmological variations of alpha and mu: Delta alpha/alpha < 10^-6, Delta mu/mu < 10^-7.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times