Measurement of the Positronium 13S1→23S1 Two-Photon Transition
Positronium (Ps) is the purely leptonic atom consisting of an electron and its positron antiparticle. Ever since its discovery in 1951 by Deutsch1 this this atom has been recognized as one of the most fundamental bound state systems available for precision studies. The electro-weak Hamiltonian describing Ps is believed to be known (unlike hydrogen which has significant nuclear effects) and one would naively think that the atom’s energy levels could easily be calculated to very high accuracy. This is not the case because of our current inability to correctly handle the relativistic two-body problem. In nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, time is a parameter and one can make a center-of-mass transformation that reduces the two-body problem to a one-body problem.
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