Constraints on changes in the proton-electron mass ratio using methanol lines
Journal article, 2015

We report Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) absorption spectroscopy in four methanol (CH3OH) lines in the z = 0.885 82 gravitational lens towards PKS1830-211. Three of the four lines have very different sensitivity coefficients K-mu to changes in the proton-electron mass ratio mu; a comparison between the line redshifts thus allows us to test for temporal evolution in mu. We obtain a stringent statistical constraint on changes in mu by comparing the redshifted 12.179 and 60.531 GHz lines, [Delta mu/mu] <= 1.1 x 10(-7) (2 sigma) over 0 < z <= 0.885 82, a factor of approximate to 2.5 more sensitive than the best earlier results. However, the higher signal-to-noise ratio (by a factor of approximate to 2) of the VLA spectrum in the 12.179 GHz transition also indicates that this line has a different shape from that of the other three CH3OH lines (at >4 sigma significance). The sensitivity of the above result, and that of all earlier CH3OH studies, is thus likely to be limited by unknown systematic errors, probably arising due to the frequency-dependent structure of PKS1830-211. A robust result is obtained by combining the three lines at similar frequencies, 48.372, 48.377 and 60.531 GHz, whose line profiles are found to be in good agreement. This yields the 2 sigma constraint [Delta mu/mu] less than or similar to 4 x 10(-7), the most stringent current constraint on changes in mu. We thus find no evidence for changes in the proton-electron mass ratio over a lookback time of approximate to 7.5 Gyr.



Atomic Processes

Absorption Lines




Gravitational Lens

Uves Large


Fine-Structure Constant

Molecular Absorption

Lens Pks 1830-211



Testing Fundamental Physics


N. Kanekar

National Centre for Radio Astrophysics India

W. Ubachs

Free University of Amsterdam

K. M. Menten

Max Planck Society

J. Bagdonaite

Max Planck Society

Andreas Brunthaler

Max Planck Society

C. Henkel

Max Planck Society

King Abdulaziz University

Sebastien Muller

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Onsala Space Observatory

H. L. Bethlem

Free University of Amsterdam

M. Dapra

Free University of Amsterdam

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

1745-3933 (ISSN)

Vol. 448 1 L104-L108

Subject Categories

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology



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