Electron Electric Dipole Moment
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Electron Electric Dipole Moment

The electron electric dipole moment (EDM) de is an intrinsic property of an electron such that the potential energy is linearly related to the strength of the electric field:

The electron's EDM must be collinear with the direction of the electron's magnetic moment (spin).[1] Within the Standard Model of elementary particle physics, such a dipole is predicted to be non-zero but very small, at most ,[2] where e stands for the elementary charge. The discovery of a substantially larger electron electric dipole moment would imply a violation of both parity invariance and time reversal invariance.[3][4]

Implications for Standard Model and extentions

In the Standard Model, the electron EDM arises from the CP-violating components of the CKM matrix. The moment is very small because the CP violation involves quarks, not electrons directly, so it can only arise by quantum processes where virtual quarks are created, interact with the electron, and then are annihilated.[2][a]

If neutrinos are Majorana particles, a larger EDM (around ) is possible in the standard model[2]

Many extensions to the Standard Model have been proposed in the past two decades. These extensions generally predict larger values for the electron EDM. For instance, the various technicolor models predict de that ranges from 10-27 to 10-29 e?cm.[] Some supersymmetric models predict that [5] but some other parameter choices or other supersymmetric models lead to smaller predicted values. The present experimental limit therefore eliminates some of these technicolor/supersymmetric theories, but not all. Further improvements, or a positive result,[6] would place further limits on which theory takes precedence.

Formal definition of the electron EDM

As the electron has a net charge, the definition of its electric dipole moment is ambiguous in that

depends on the point about which the moment of the charge distribution is taken. If we were to choose to be the center of charge, then would be identically zero. A more interesting choice would be to take as the electron's center of mass evaluated in the frame in which the electron is at rest.

Classical notions such as the center of charge and mass are, however, hard to make precise for a quantum elementary particle. In practice the definition used by experimentalists comes from the form factors appearing in the matrix element[7]

of the electromagnetic current operator between two on-shell states with Lorentz invariant phase space normalization in which

Here and are 4-spinor solutions of the Dirac equation normalized so that , and is the momentum transfer from the current to the electron. The form factor is the electron's charge, is its static magnetic dipole moment, and provides the formal definition of the electron's electric dipole moment. The remaining form factor would, if nonzero, be the anapole moment.

Experimental measurements of the electron EDM

To date, no experiment has found a non-zero electron EDM. The Particle Data Group publishes its value as .[8] Here is a list of electron EDM experiments after 2000 with published results:

List of Electron EDM Experiments
Year Location Principal Investigators Method Species Experimental upper limit on ||
2002 University of California, Berkeley Eugene Commins, David DeMille Atomic beam Tl [9]
2011 Imperial College London Edward Hinds, Ben Sauer Molecular beam YbF [10]
2014 Harvard-Yale
(ACME I experiment)
David DeMille, John Doyle, Gerald Gabrielse Molecular beam ThO [11]
2017 JILA Eric Cornell, Jun Ye Ion trap HfF+ [12]
2018 Harvard-Yale
(ACME II experiment)
David DeMille, John Doyle, Gerald Gabrielse Molecular beam ThO [13]

Future proposed experiments

Besides the above groups, electron EDM experiments are being pursued or proposed by the following groups:

See also


  1. ^ More precisely, a non-zero EDM does not arise until the level of four-loop Feynman diagrams and higher.[2]


  1. ^ Eckel, S.; Sushkov, A.O.; Lamoreaux, S.K. (2012). "Limit on the electron electric dipole moment using paramagnetic ferroelectric Eu0.5Ba0.5TiO3". Physical Review Letters. 109 (19): 193003. arXiv:1208.4420. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.193003. PMID 23215379. S2CID 35411253.
  2. ^ a b c d Pospelov, M.; Ritz, A. (2005). "Electric dipole moments as probes of new physics". Annals of Physics. 318 (1): 119-169. arXiv:hep-ph/0504231. Bibcode:2005AnPhy.318..119P. doi:10.1016/j.aop.2005.04.002. S2CID 13827759.
  3. ^ Khriplovich, I.B.; Lamoreaux, S.K. (1997). CP violation without strangeness: Electric dipole moments of particles, atoms, and molecules. Springer-Verlag.
  4. ^ P. R. Bunker and P. Jensen (2005), Fundamentals of Molecular Symmetry (CRC Press) ISBN 0-7503-0941-5[1] Chapter 15
  5. ^ Arnowitt, R.; Dutta, B.; Santoso, Y. (2001). "Supersymmetric phases, the electron electric dipole moment and the muon magnetic moment". Physical Review D. 64 (11): 113010. arXiv:hep-ph/0106089. Bibcode:2001PhRvD..64k3010A. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.64.113010. S2CID 17341766.
  6. ^ a b "Ultracold Atomic Physics Group". Physics. U. Texas. Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ Nowakowski, M.; Paschos, E.A.; Rodriguez, J.M. (2005). "All electromagnetic form factors". European Journal of Physics. 26 (4): 545-560. arXiv:physics/0402058. doi:10.1088/0143-0807/26/4/001. S2CID 119097762.
  8. ^ "Electron listing" (PDF). Particle Data Group. Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. 2018.
  9. ^ Regan, B.C.; Commins, Eugene D.; Schmidt, Christian J.; DeMille, David (1 February 2002). "New Limit on the Electron Electric Dipole Moment". Physical Review Letters. 88 (7): 071805. Bibcode:2002PhRvL..88g1805R. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.88.071805. PMID 11863886.
  10. ^ Hudson, J.J.; Kara, D.M.; Smallman, I.J.; Sauer, B.E.; Tarbutt, M.R.; Hinds, E.A. (2011). "Improved measurement of the shape of the electron" (PDF). Nature. 473 (7348): 493-496. Bibcode:2011Natur.473..493H. doi:10.1038/nature10104. hdl:10044/1/19405. PMID 21614077. S2CID 205224996.
  11. ^ The ACME Collaboration (January 2014). "Order of Magnitude Smaller Limit on the Electric Dipole Moment of the Electron" (PDF). Science. 343 (6168): 269-272. arXiv:1310.7534. Bibcode:2014Sci...343..269B. doi:10.1126/science.1248213. PMID 24356114. S2CID 564518. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-27. Retrieved .
  12. ^ Cairncross, William B.; Gresh, Daniel N.; Grau, Matt; Cossel, Kevin C.; Roussy, Tanya S.; Ni, Yiqi; Zhou, Yan; Ye, Jun; Cornell, Eric A. (9 October 2017). "Precision Measurement of the Electron's Electric Dipole Moment Using Trapped Molecular Ions". Physical Review Letters. 119 (15): 153001. arXiv:1704.07928. Bibcode:2017PhRvL.119o3001C. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.153001. PMID 29077451. S2CID 44043558.
  13. ^ The ACME Collaboration (October 2018). "Improved Limit on the Electric Dipole Moment of the Electron" (PDF). Nature. 562 (7727): 355-360. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0599-8. PMID 30333583. S2CID 52985540.
  14. ^ D.S. Weiss. "Electron electric dipole moment search". Penn State Physics. Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ Aggarwal, Parul; Bethlem, Hendrick L.; Borschevsky, Anastasia; Denis, Malika; Esajas, Kevin; Haase, Pi A.B.; Hao, Yongliang; Hoekstra, Steven; Jungmann, Klaus; Meijknecht, Thomas B.; Mooij, Maarten C.; Timmermans, Rob G.E.; Ubachs, Wim; Willmann, Lorenz; Zapara, Artem (2018). "Measuring the electric dipole moment of the electron in BaF". The European Physical Journal D. 72 (11). arXiv:1804.10012. doi:10.1140/epjd/e2018-90192-9. S2CID 96439955.
  16. ^ Kozyryev, Ivan; Hutzler, Nicholas R. (28 September 2017). "Precision Measurement of Time-Reversal Symmetry Violation with Laser-Cooled Polyatomic Molecules". Physical Review Letters. 119 (13): 133002. arXiv:1705.11020. Bibcode:2017PhRvL.119m3002K. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.133002. PMID 29341669. S2CID 33254969.
  17. ^ Vutha, A.C.; Horbatsch, M.; Hessels, E.A. (5 January 2018). "Oriented polar molecules in a solid inert-gas matrix: A proposed method for measuring the electric dipole moment of the electron". Atoms. 6 (1): 3. arXiv:1710.08785. Bibcode:2018Atoms...6....3V. doi:10.3390/atoms6010003. S2CID 3349485.

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