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Research Van Swinderen Institute Fundamental Interactions and Symmetries (TRIµP) Physics Lorentz Invariance Violation

Lorentz Invariance Violation


Einstein's principle of relativity in 4D space-time implies that the laws of physics are Lorentz invariant. Numerous experiments so far have confirmed that Lorentz invariance is valid at presently accessible energies and precisions. When combined with the principles of quantum mechanics, Lorentz invariance is at the root of the Standard Model of particle physics that describes the strong and weak nuclear forces and electromagnetism in great detail. However, in theories that try to unify the Standard Model with gravity (such as string theory), plausible mechanisms have been identified that result in a, for instance spontaneous, breakdown of Lorentz invariance. Thus, the fascinating possibility exists to detect such suppressed signals from the Planck scale in dedicated, high-precision experiments at low energy.

At KVI, we search for violations of Lorentz invariance in the largely unexplored sector of the weak interaction, specifically β-decay, which has a history of disrespecting symmetries that are obeyed by the strong and electromagnetic forces. We develop the theoretical framework, demonstrate the feasibility, and perform a number of sensitive precision β-decay experiments at the new TRIµP facility at KVI, exploiting its unique capabilities to produce, polarize, and detect the pertinent isotopes.

Last modified:20 June 2014 10.19 a.m.