A tabletop-scale probe for TeV physics: the electric dipole moment of the electron

Monday, November 17, 2014 - 4:15pm
Room #1 LeConte Hall
David DeMille
Yale University
Public Lecture: 

Time-reversal (T) symmetry is observed to be broken in K- and B-meson decays, in a manner consistent with the Standard Model (SM) of electroweak interactions. Violation of T-invariance can also cause elementary particles such as the electron to have an electric dipole moment (EDM) along their spin.  Although the SM prediction for the electron EDM is too small to detect, extensions to the SM frequently predict EDMs within a few orders of magnitude of the current limit.  I will describe the ACME experiment, which uses methods of atomic and molecular physics to detect the electron’s EDM.  We recently completed the most sensitive search for this quantity. Our result is consistent with zero, but sets a limit an order of magnitude smaller than previous work.  Remarkably, the result of this tabletop-scale experiment sets strong constraints on the existence of new physics at energies at or above the TeV scale being probed at the Large Hadron Collider, and has a substantial impact on theories of physics beyond the Standard Model.