Constraints on extra dimensions from precision molecular spectroscopy

E.J. Salumbides, A.N. Schellekens, B. Gato-Rivera, W.M.G. Ubachs

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Accurate investigations of quantum-level energies in molecular systems are shown to provide a testing ground to constrain the size of compactified extra dimensions. This is made possible by recent progress in precision metrology with ultrastable lasers on energy levels in neutral molecular hydrogen (H<inf>2</inf>, HD, and D<inf>2</inf>) and molecular hydrogen ions (H<inf>2</inf>+, HD+, and D<inf>2</inf>+). Comparisons between experiment and quantum electrodynamics calculations for these molecular systems can be interpreted in terms of probing large extra dimensions, under which conditions gravity will become much stronger. Molecules are a probe of spacetime geometry at typical distances where chemical bonds are effective (i.e., at length scales of an Å). Constraints on compactification radii for extra dimensions are derived within the Arkani-Hamed-Dimopoulos-Dvali framework, while constraints for curvature or brane separation are derived within the Randall-Sundrum framework. Based on the molecular spectroscopy of D<inf>2</inf> molecules and HD+ ions, the compactification size for seven extra dimensions (in connection to M-theory defined in 11 dimensions) of equal size is shown to be limited to R<inf>7</inf> < 0.6 μm. While limits on compactification sizes of extra dimensions based on other branches of physics are compared, the prospect of further tightening constraints from the molecular method is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number033015
Pages (from-to)033015
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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