Jun 21, 2022

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Predictions of theoretical physics can’t be proved in a true sense but can only be verified to accurate levels of precision through experimental tests and modelling. There are several theories being proposed by people in the scientific community to explain the features of a particular phenomenon but only a few get lucky and stand the test of time. Quantum electrodynamics (QED) is one of the most precise theories of physics and is also the first theory that has achieved a proper and viable correlation between quantum mechanics and special relativity.

QED explains many features of quantum systems and their interaction. For example, electrons, which are elementary particles characterized by a negative charge and intrinsic spin, communicate with the atomic nucleus of an atom through the exchange of particles of light or photons. This interaction and interrelationship between the electron and photon fall under the regime of QED. To put it in technical terminology, QED is a relativistic quantum field theory describing the interaction between radiation and matter. The first attempt to describe such a scenario was made by Paul Dirac but later works by Shinichiro Tomonaga, Julian Schwinger, Richard Feynman, and Freeman Dyson solved certain problems within the framework of the theory and also provided a sound sense of completeness to it.

To date, QED has given remarkable results of certain quantities like the anomalous magnetic moment of electrons and the Lamb shift of the quantum energy levels of hydrogen. Now, it has recently been tested more accurately than ever, almost 100 times in greater magnitude. Feynman’s “Jewel of physics” has been put to test yet again by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg. The scientists studied the magnetic properties of the isotopes of highly charged neon in an ion trap using a newly devised method and found results with striking and unprecedented accuracy [1].

The scientists were able to measure the difference in the g-factor, which generally determines the strength of the magnetic moment, for two neon isotopes. With what is named the ALPHATRAP experiment, one is able to store individual ions in a strong magnetic field of 4 Tesla in an environment that is nearly a perfect vacuum and this played a key role in the investigation.

The new method employed by the research team works in a way that the ions are stored in the same magnetic field under a coupled motion. The motion is such that the ions rotate facing each other on a single circular path whose radius is of the order of only 200 micrometres.

With the measurement of the magnetic field on one hand, the group calculated the difference of the g-factors of the neon isotopes up to 13 digits of accuracy which is an enhancement by a factor of 100 when compared with previous investigations and calculations. This result is also the most accurate comparative description of the two g-factors ever made.

"In comparison with the new experimental values, we confirmed that the electron does indeed interact with the atomic nucleus via the exchange of photons, as predicted by QED," explains group leader Zoltán Harman.

This experimental result is very important in the frame of the Unified Field model based on the generalized holographic approach from Nassim Haramein, that considers a statistical entropy and thermodynamics approach of a surface-to-volume generalized holographic ratio defined in previous work [2,3,4]. The resulting model scales from the Planck scale to the universal scale, finding a surprisingly periodic fit to organize matter in the universe, from which we can compute exact values defining the fundamental scaling factors of physical interactions. One of these interactions depends upon the g-factor addressed in this article, that now has been measured with the highest accuracy. This higher accuracy value can now be compared to the one obtained from Haramein’s unified model, to be published soon.

References

[1] Tim Sailer et al, Measurement of the bound-electron g-factor difference in coupled ions, *Nature* (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04807-w

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