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Foundations of Physics

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 575–584 | Cite as

The Effect of the Relative Motion of Atoms on the Frequency of the Emitted Light and the Reinterpretation of the Ives-Stilwell Experiment

  • C. I. Christov
Open Access
Article

Abstract

We examine the process of the emission of light from an atom that is in a relative translational motion with respect to the medium at rest in which the electromagnetic excitations propagate. The effect of Lorentz contraction of the of electron orbits on the emitted frequency is incorporated in the Rydberg formula, as well as the emitter’s Doppler effect is acknowledged. The result is that the frequency of the emitted light is modified by a factor that is identical with what is called the ‘relativistic Doppler effect’. The new emission formula is applied for reinterpretation of the Ives-Stilwell experiment and shown that within the second order of approximation with respect to the speeds of the atom and the ‘absolute speed’ (Earth’s speed relative to the medium), the absolute motion does not affect the interference. The expression for the modification of the frequency involves both a first and a second-order term with respect to the speed of the atoms in the cathode tube. The latter turns out to be quantitatively the same as if the time would have changed its rate in the frame moving with the atoms. Thus, a new interpretation of the results of this famous experiment is provided without stipulating time dilation.

Keywords

Preferred frame Ives-Stilwell experiment Emission of light Earth’s speed Local standard of rest Metacontinuum 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of Louisiana at LafayetteLafayetteUSA

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