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Observational Tests of Open Strings in Braneworld Scenarios

  • Freese, Katherine
  • Lewis, Matthew
  • van der Schaar, Jan Pieter
Published Article
Publication Date
Nov 19, 2002
Submission Date
Nov 15, 2002
DOI: 10.1088/1126-6708/2003/07/026
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We consider some consequences of describing the gauge and matter degrees of freedom in our universe by open strings, as suggested by the braneworld scenario. We focus on the geometric effects described by the open string metric and investigate their observational implications. The causal structure of spacetime on the brane is altered; it is described not by the usual metric $g_{\mu\nu}$, but instead by the open string metric, that incorporates the electromagnetic background, $G_{\mu\nu} = g_{\mu\nu} - (2\pi \alpha^\prime)^2 (F^2)_{\mu\nu}$. The speed of light is now slower when propagating along directions transverse to electromagnetic fields or an NS-NS two form, so that Lorentz invariance is explicitly broken. A generalized equivalence principle guarantees that the propagation of {\it all} particles, not just photons, (with the exception of gravitons) is slower in these transverse directions. We describe a variety of astrophysical and laboratory-based experiments designed to detect the predicted variations in the causal structure. We show that current technology cannot probe beyond open string lengths of $10^{-13}$ cm, corresponding to MeV string scales. We also point out that in a braneworld scenario, constraints on large scale electromagnetic fields together with a modest phenomenological bound on the NS-NS two-form naturally lead to a bound on the scale of canonical noncommutativity that is two orders of magnitude below the string length. By invoking theoretical constraints on the NS-NS two-form this bound can be improved to give an extremely strong bound on the noncommutative scale well below the Planck length, $\sqrt{|\theta|_{max}} < 10^{-35} {\rm cm} \times ({{\rm TeV} \over {\rm string} {\rm scale}}

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