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Does the Proton-to-Electron Mass Ratio µ = mp / me Vary in the Course of Cosmological Evolution?

  • A. Ivanchik
  • P. Petitjean
  • E. Rodriguez
  • D. Varshalovich
Chapter

Abstract

The possible cosmological variation of the proton-to-electron mass ratio μ = m p / m e was estimated by measuring the H2 wavelengths in the high-resolution spectrum of the quasar Q 0347–382. Our analysis yielded an estimate for the possible deviation of μ, value in the past, 10 Gyr ago: for the unweighted value Δ μ / μ = (3.0 ± 2.4) × 10−5; for the weighted value
$$ \Delta \mu /\mu = (5.02 \pm 1.82) \times {10^{ - 5}} $$
Since the significance of the both results does not exceed 3σ, further observations are needed to increase the statistical significance. In any case, this result may be considered as the most stringent estimate on an upper limit of a possible variation of μ, (95% C.L.):
$$ \left| {\Delta \mu /\mu } \right| < 8 \times {10^{ - 5}}. $$
This value serves as an effective tool for selection of models determining a relation between possible cosmological deviations of the fine-structure constant α and the elementary particle masses (m p , m e , etc.).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Ivanchik
    • 1
  • P. Petitjean
    • 2
  • E. Rodriguez
    • 2
  • D. Varshalovich
    • 1
  1. 1.Ioffe Physical-Technical InstituteSt.-PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Institut d’Astrophysique de ParisCNRSParisFrance

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