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NICOLLE RAGER FULLER, NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NICOLLE RAGER FULLER, NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Electron orbit particle cloud laser experiment, illustration. At centre is an electron in its orbit around an atomic nucleus. The electron is spinning about its axis as a cloud of other subatomic particles are constantly emitted and reabsorbed. Observations of the shape of this cloud can be used to test fundamental physical theories. One such test involves the use of lasers (here, red and pink) in what is known as the ACME collaboration (the Advanced Cold Molecule Electron EDM experiment). This experiment uses lasers and beams of molecules to measure effects related to the electric dipole moment (EDM) of the electron. The results, published in 2018, showed a spherical particle cloud, rather than the pear-shaped particle cloud predicted by alternative theories. At the current level of precision, this result supports the current Standard Model of particle physics.
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