High precision hyperfine measurements in Bismuth challenge bound-state strong-field QED

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Title: High precision hyperfine measurements in Bismuth challenge bound-state strong-field QED
Authors: Ullmann, J
Andelkovic, Z
Brandau, C
Dax, A
Geithner, W
Geppert, C
Gorges, C
Hammen, M
Hannen, V
Kaufmann, S
Konig, K
Litvinov, YA
Lochmann, M
Maass, B
Meisner, J
Murbock, T
Sanchez, R
Schmidt, M
Schmidt, S
Steck, M
Stohlker, T
Thompson, RC
Trageser, C
Vollbrecht, J
Weinheimer, C
Nortershauser, W
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Electrons bound in highly charged heavy ions such as hydrogen-like bismuth 209Bi82+ experience electromagnetic fields that are a million times stronger than in light atoms. Measuring the wavelength of light emitted and absorbed by these ions is therefore a sensitive testing ground for quantum electrodynamical (QED) effects and especially the electron–nucleus interaction under such extreme conditions. However, insufficient knowledge of the nuclear structure has prevented a rigorous test of strong-field QED. Here we present a measurement of the so-called specific difference between the hyperfine splittings in hydrogen-like and lithium-like bismuth 209Bi82+,80+ with a precision that is improved by more than an order of magnitude. Even though this quantity is believed to be largely insensitive to nuclear structure and therefore the most decisive test of QED in the strong magnetic field regime, we find a 7-σ discrepancy compared with the theoretical prediction.
Issue Date: 16-May-2017
Date of Acceptance: 3-Apr-2017
ISSN: 2041-1723
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Journal / Book Title: Nature Communications
Volume: 8
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2017. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
Funder's Grant Number: EP/D068509/1
Keywords: Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
MD Multidisciplinary
Publication Status: Published
Open Access location:
Article Number: ARTN 15484
Appears in Collections:Quantum Optics and Laser Science

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