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Space Science Reviews

, Volume 148, Issue 1–4, pp 289–300 | Cite as

Constraining Fundamental Constants of Physics with Quasar Absorption Line Systems

  • Patrick PetitjeanEmail author
  • Raghunathan Srianand
  • Hum Chand
  • Alexander Ivanchik
  • Pasquier Noterdaeme
  • Neeraj Gupta
Article

Abstract

We summarize the attempts by our group and others to derive constraints on variations of fundamental constants over cosmic time using quasar absorption lines. Most upper limits reside in the range 0.5–1.5×10−5 at the 3σ level over a redshift range of approximately 0.5–2.5 for the fine-structure constant, α, the proton-to-electron mass ratio, μ and a combination of the proton gyromagnetic factor and the two previous constants, g p(α 2/μ) ν , for only one claimed variation of α. It is therefore very important to perform new measurements to improve the sensitivity of the numerous methods to at least <0.1×10−5 which should be possible in the next few years. Future instrumentations on ELTs in the optical and/or ALMA, EVLA and SKA pathfinders in the radio will undoutedly boost this field by allowing to reach much better signal-to-noise ratios at higher spectral resolution and to perform measurements on molecules in the ISM of high redshift galaxies.

Keywords

Quasars: absorption lines Physics: Fundamental constants 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Petitjean
    • 1
    Email author
  • Raghunathan Srianand
    • 2
  • Hum Chand
    • 3
  • Alexander Ivanchik
    • 4
  • Pasquier Noterdaeme
    • 2
  • Neeraj Gupta
    • 5
  1. 1.UPMC Paris 06, Institut d’Astrophysique de ParisUMR7095 CNRSParisFrance
  2. 2.IUCAAPuneIndia
  3. 3.ARIESNainitalIndia
  4. 4.Ioffe Physical Technical InstituteSt. PetersburgRussia
  5. 5.Australia Telescope National FacilityCSIROEppingAustralia

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