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APS tip sheet: The neutron's electric dipole moment

Techniques for studying the neutron's electrical charges have reached a new level of sensitivity

American Physical Society

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Credit: C. Abel et al., Physical Review Letters (2020)

Although the neutron has no net electrical charge, it still could have an electric dipole moment (EDM)--a structural measure of the distance between its positive and negative electrical charges. According to researchers C. Abel et al., this moment would be "act like an electronic compass to electric fields just as an ordinary compass does with magnetic fields." These researchers are searching for the neutron's electric dipole moment to probe new physics which was at play just after the Big Bang. Now, they have refined the sensitivity of techniques used to search for the neutron's EDM. The new advancements with improved sensitivity will assist scientists who have been searching for the neutron's elusive electric dipole moment since the 1950s.

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Measurement of the permanent electric dipole moment of the neutron
C. Abel, Philipp Schmidt-Wellenburg, et al.

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