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Perspective: Tipping the scales: Search for drifting constants from molecular spectra
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Transitions in atoms and molecules provide an ideal test ground for constraining or detecting a possible variation of the fundamental constants of nature. In this perspective, we review molecular species that are of specific interest in the search for a drifting proton-to-electron mass ratio μ. In particular, we outline the procedures that are used to calculate the sensitivity coefficients for transitions in these molecules and discuss current searches. These methods have led to a rate of change in μ bounded to 6 × 10−14/yr from a laboratory experiment performed in the present epoch. On a cosmological time scale, the variation is limited to |Δμ/μ| < 10−5 for look-back times of 10–12× 109 years and to |Δμ/μ| < 10−7 for look-back times of 7× 109 years. The last result, obtained from high-redshift observation of methanol, translates into /yr if a linear rate of change is assumed.
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