Measuring the stability of fundamental constants with a network of clocks

G. Barontini, L. Blackburn, V. Boyer, F. Butuc-Mayer, X. Calmet, J. R. Crespo Lopez-Urrutia, E. A. Curtis, B. Darquie, J. Dunningham, N. J. Fitch, E. M. Forgan, K. Georgiou, P. Gill, R. M. Godun, J. Goldwin, V. Guarrera, A. C. Harwood, I. R. Hill, R. J. Hendricks, M. JeongM. Y. H. Johnson, M. Keller, L. P. Kozhiparambil Sajith, F. Kuipers, H. S. Margolis, C. Mayo, P. Newman, A. O. Parsons, L. Prokhorov, B. I. Robertson, J. Rodewald, M. S. Safronova, B. E. Sauer, M. Schioppo, N. Sherrill, Y. V. Stadnik, K. Szymaniec, M. R. Tarbutt, R. C. Thompson, A. Tofful, J. Tunesi, A. Vecchio, Y. Wang, S. Worm

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The detection of variations of fundamental constants of the Standard Model would provide us with compelling evidence of new physics, and could lift the veil on the nature of dark matter and dark energy. In this work, we discuss how a network of atomic and molecular clocks can be used to look for such variations with unprecedented sensitivity over a wide range of time scales. This is precisely the goal of the recently launched QSNET project: A network of clocks for measuring the stability of fundamental constants. QSNET will include state-of-the-art atomic clocks, but will also develop next-generation molecular and highly charged ion clocks with enhanced sensitivity to variations of fundamental constants. We describe the technological and scientific aims of QSNET and evaluate its expected performance. We show that in the range of parameters probed by QSNET, either we will discover new physics, or we will impose new constraints on violations of fundamental symmetries and a range of theories beyond the Standard Model, including dark matter and dark energy models.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Number of pages52
JournalEPJ Quantum Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by STFC and EPSRC under grants ST/T00598X/1, ST/T006048/1, ST/T006234/1, ST/T00603X/1,ST/T00102X/1,ST/S002227/1. We also acknowledge the support of the UK government department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy through the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme. The work of M.S.S. was supported by US NSF Grant No. PHY-2012068. The work of Y.V.S. was supported by the World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI), MEXT, Japan and by the JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP20K14460. A.V. acknowledges the support of the Royal Society and Wolfson Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • hep-ph
  • astro-ph.CO
  • gr-qc
  • hep-ex
  • physics.atom-ph
  • Variations of fundamental constants
  • Atomic and molecular clocks
  • Networks of quantum sensors
  • Dark matter
  • Dark energy
  • Solitons
  • Quantum gravity
  • Grand unification theories
  • Violation of fundamental symmetries
  • Physics beyond the Standard Model


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