Precision Experiments at Lowest Energies for Fundamental Tests and ConstantsJune 15 - 17, 2009, Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, Germany
There are two complementary experimental approaches to "New Physics": Either the experiments are performed in a parameter range previously not accessible (e.g., higher energy, intensity, pressure, …) or the experimental accuracy is improved with which fundamental properties of the building blocks of our universe (e.g., mass, magnetic moment, …) or characteristics of their interactions (e.g. coupling constant, range, …) can be determined.
The accuracy of such measurements has been increased considerably over the years. Very often, highest accuracy is achieved by performing the investigation at very low energies. For this purpose, a large variety of extremely efficient cooling techniques has been developed in the last twenty years and applied to atoms, molecules and ions as well as to other particles like neutrons, electrons, antiprotons or muons. At the same time, methods have been developed to store these species for very long periods of time. Also this new achievement contributed to considerably improve resolving power and accuracy of experimental investigations since observation time and experimental uncertainty are intimately connected by the uncertainty principle.
This enhanced measurement accuracy now allows one to discuss very fundamental questions of physics and cosmology. This WE-Heraeus-Seminar is intended to bring together experts in the field of precision experiments at low energies and in the underlying theories in order to discuss the current status and new frontiers of research. For that, the four basic physical interactions will be discussed in respect to precision experiments at low energies. Very important in this context are symmetry tests such as that of CPT invariance. Another important issue is the determination of fundamental constants. Here, especially the accuracy of the fine structure constant has been strongly improved in the last two years. This was achieved via the g-factor of the free electron. On the other hand, there are experimental findings that raise doubt about the constancy of the fundamental constants. Finally, new approaches, new facilities and modern experiments will be addressed such as antiproton gravity tests or precision experiments by means of storage rings and traps.