X-ray measurements in helium-like atoms increased discrepancy between experiment and theoretical QED

C. T. Chantler, A. T. Payne, J. D. Gillaspy, L. T. Hudson, L. F. Smale, A. Henins, J. A. Kimpton, E. Takacs

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Abstract

A recent 15 parts per million (ppm) experiment on muonic hydrogen (p+μ-) found a major discrepancy with quantum electrodynamics (QED) and independent nuclear size determinations. Here we find a significant discrepancy in a different type of exotic atom: a medium-Z nucleus with two electrons. Investigation of the data collected is able to discriminate between available QED formulations and reveals a pattern of discrepancy of almost six standard errors of experimental results from the most recent theoretical predictions, with a functional dependence proportional to Zn where n ≃ 4. In both the muonic and highly charged systems, the sign of the discrepancy is the same, with the measured transition energy higher than predicted. Some consequences are possible or probable, and some are more speculative. This may give insight into effective nuclear radii, the Rydberg, the fine-structure constant, or unexpectedly large QED terms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123037
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Volume16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2014

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Keywords

  • QED
  • helium-like quantum systems
  • relativistic atomic physics
  • x-ray spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Chantler, C. T., Payne, A. T., Gillaspy, J. D., Hudson, L. T., Smale, L. F., Henins, A., Kimpton, J. A., & Takacs, E. (2014). X-ray measurements in helium-like atoms increased discrepancy between experiment and theoretical QED. New Journal of Physics, 16, [123037]. https://doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/16/12/123037