Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Electron's shapeliness throws a curve at supersymmetry

Date:
December 19, 2013
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
A small band of particle-seeking scientists has established a new benchmark for the electron's almost perfect roundness, raising doubts about certain theories that predict what lies beyond physics' reigning model of fundamental forces and particles, the Standard Model.

A small band of particle-seeking scientists at Yale and Harvard has established a new benchmark for the electron's almost perfect roundness, raising doubts about certain theories that predict what lies beyond physics' reigning model of fundamental forces and particles, the Standard Model.

Related Articles


"We know the Standard Model does not encompass everything," said Yale physicist David DeMille, who with John Doyle and Gerald Gabrielse of Harvard leads the ACME collaboration, a team using a strikingly different method to detect some of the same types of particles sought by huge experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe. "Like our LHC colleagues, we're trying to see something in the lab that's different from what the Standard Model predicts."

ACME is looking for new particles of matter by measuring their effects on the shape of the electron, the negatively charged subatomic particle orbiting within every atom.

In research published Dec. 19 in Science Express, the team reported the most precise measurement to date of the electron's shape, improving it by a factor of more than 10 and showing the particle to be rounder than predicted by some extensions of the Standard Model, including some versions of Supersymmetry. This theory posits new types of particles that help account, for example, for dark matter, a mysterious substance estimated to make up most of the universe.

Researchers said they have shown that the electron's departure from spherical perfection -- if it exists at all -- must be smaller than predicted by many theories proposing particles the Standard Model doesn't account for. If the electron's shape is too round, many of these theories will be proven wrong, they said.

Many variants of Supersymmetry predict a less round shape for the electron than the ACME team found experimentally. If the particles predicted by those versions of Supersymmetry existed, they would have caused greater deformation of the electron, researchers said.

The ACME project looked for a particular deformation in the electron's shape known as an electric dipole moment.

"You can picture the dipole moment as what would happen if you took a perfect sphere, shaved a thin layer off one hemisphere and laid it on top of the other side," said DeMille, who helped establish previous landmark limits in electron deformation. "The thicker the layer, the larger the dipole moment. Now imagine an electron blown up to the size of the earth. Our experiment would have been able to see a layer 10,000 times thinner than a human hair, moved from the southern to the northern hemisphere. But we didn't see it, and that rules out some theories."

The ACME researchers measured the dipole moment using electrons inside the polar molecule thorium monoxide. The molecule's properties amplify the electron's deformation and diminish the possibility of effects that could fool researchers into thinking they had seen a tiny deformation when none exists.

"It is amazing that some of these predicted supersymmetric particles would squeeze the electron into a kind of egg shape," said Harvard's Doyle. "Our experiment is telling us that this just doesn't happen at our level of sensitivity."

Gabrielse, also of Harvard, said: "It's unusual and satisfying that the exquisite precision achieved by our small team in a university lab probes the most fundamental building block of our universe at a sensitivity that complements what is being achieved by thousands at the world's largest accelerator."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. The original article was written by Eric Gershon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. The ACME Collaboration, J. Baron, W. C. Campbell, D. DeMille, J. M. Doyle, G. Gabrielse, Y. V. Gurevich, P. W. Hess, N. R. Hutzler, E. Kirilov, I. Kozyryev, B. R. O’Leary, C. D. Panda, M. F. Parsons, E. S. Petrik, B. Spaun, A. C. Vutha, and A. D. West. Order of Magnitude Smaller Limit on the Electric Dipole Moment of the Electron. Science, 19 December 2013 DOI: 10.1126/science.1248213

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Electron's shapeliness throws a curve at supersymmetry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219142311.htm>.
Yale University. (2013, December 19). Electron's shapeliness throws a curve at supersymmetry. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219142311.htm
Yale University. "Electron's shapeliness throws a curve at supersymmetry." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219142311.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Magnetic Motors, Not Cables, Power This Elevator

Magnetic Motors, Not Cables, Power This Elevator

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) Imagine an elevator without cables. ThyssenKrupp has drafted an elevator concept that would cruise on linear magnetic motors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Electron 'antenna' Tunes in to Physics Beyond Higgs

Dec. 19, 2013 In making the most precise measurements ever of the shape of electrons, a team of Harvard and Yale scientists has raised severe doubts about several popular theories of what lies beyond the Higgs ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins