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Test of Covariant Ether Theories


Test of Covariant Ether Theories by Nuclear Resonant Scattering of Synchrotron Radiation

Tech Area / Field

  • PHY-ANU/Atomic and Nuclear Physics/Physics
  • PHY-OTH/Other/Physics

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Belarussian State University, Belarus, Minsk

Supporting institutes

  • National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus / Belarusian State Scientific-Production Concern “Belmashpribor”, Belarus, Minsk


  • Technische Universität München / Department of Physics, Germany, Garching\nUniversity of Rostock, Department of Physics, Germany, Rostock

Project summary

The project’s purpose is an experimental test of the covariant ether theories (CETs) in phenomena, which admit a violation of Einstein’s relativity principle without violation of the general relativity principle.

The state of the art in the field.

The CETs, as the special relativity theory (SRT), adopt the same principles of symmetry of space-time (space-time homogeneity and isotropy), but substitute Einstein’s relativity principle (equivalence of all inertial reference frames) by the general relativity principle (any physical phenomenon can be described from any frame of reference, covariance principle). The ideas of CETs go back to the works of Lorentz and Poincare. However, during a long time different CETs were considered as physically senseless formal mathematical constructions, sometimes even considered as ”ether” formulations of relativity. A principal possibility of the existence of phenomena, where a hypothetical violation of Einstein’s relativity principle occurs within the general relativity principle, was pointed out by Dirac (P.A.M. Dirac, Nature, 168 (1951) 906). The possible existence of such phenomena on a laboratory scale was substantiated and predicted for the first time in: A.L. Kholmetskii, Physica Scripta, 55 (1997) 18. One of such phenomena is the appearance of a relative frequency (energy) shift between an emitter and a receiver of electromagnetic radiation, which rotate at different distances from a common rotational axis (A.L. Kholmetskii et al., Nucl. Instrum. & Meth. B108 (1996) 359). Although a possible violation of Einstein’s relativity principle appears only as a tiny effect proportional to c-3 (c is the speed of light in vacuum), it nevertheless can be detected by the most modern technique of nuclear resonant scattering of synchrotron radiation (A.L. Kholmetskii. Hyperfine Interactions 126 (2000) 411). Due to the important and specific role of the SRT in modern knowledge, the revealed possibility of its new experimental test makes such an experiment fundamentally important and topical.

The impact of the proposed project on the progress in this field. The realization of the proposed experiment will be qualitatively new and definitely a most significant test of SRT. The experiment will close a more than one hundred years old story of a search for an absolute reference frame, starting with the famous Michelson-Morley experiment. The sensitivity of the proposed experiment can be demonstrated by the estimation of the lower limit of a classical ”ether wind speed”. In the Champeney et. al. experiment this limit was 3 m/s. In the proposed experiment it will be decreased to 3 cm/s. However, the principal significance of the experiment should be expressed not only on a quantitative, but also on a qualitative level, as a fundamentally new test of Einstein’s relativity principle in phenomena where its violation is not forbidden by the general relativity principle. On the other hand, if the effects predicted by CETs will be actually revealed (and non of the general physical principles do forbid it), this will have great significance for the development of new cosmological models and for the solution of highly acute problems, such as the problem of dark matter in the Universe, the problem of the cosmological constant, etc.

The project team on behalf of the leading institution (BSU) has a long-time experience and scientific authority in the field of Mössbauer spectroscopy. In this field, the team has published 28 papers during the past 5 years. Executors of the project from BSU were involved in the development of materials and technologies for launching missiles on the basis of gamma-defectoscopy methods. For more than 20 years the project team on behalf of the concern ”Belmashpribor” has taken part in the development of rotor systems for applications in the fields of missile technologies and test tools for ammunitions.

The expected results.

After realization of the project tasks the following results will be obtained:

- optimal experimental conditions for measurement of small relative energy shifts between two resonant lines will have been found;

- ultracentrifuge and rotors with a time stability of the rotational frequency better than 10-4 and stability of radial dimensions of the rotor of 10-4 in a range of linear speeds 0…300 m/s will have been developed;
- samples with well-defined hyper fine structures will have been prepared on the basis of optimized sputter deposition techniques;
- laboratory test measurements of rotor parameters by means of interferometric methods will have been carried out;
- applying the light-house effect, a special slit system for the separation of resonant radiation from background, will have been developed, and test measurements of rotor+resonant targets system with synchrotron radiation will have been realized;
- the experiment for registration of CETs energy shift will have been realized. A final report to ISTC will have been prepared and presented.

Application of the result of the project.

In accordance with the categories of technology of the research proposed (basic research, development), its results will find applications in two directions. The information on the presence (or absence) of the CETs energy shift will have enormous importance for the further development of the relativity theory and cosmological models. The development of a unique rotor system for synchrotron radiation measurements will be a significant factor for the development of an experimental base for the investigation of coherent interaction of resonant gamma-quanta with matter, in particular, for further studies of the so-called light-house effect with different resonant isotopes. The increase of the number of resonant isotopes will require to perform measurements with rotating samples in a wide temperature range. The development of such a rotor system will provide the basis for the construction of future cryogenic rotor systems and for the implementation of qualitatively new experiments using nuclear resonant scattering of synchrotron radiation involving specialists from the BSU and from the concern ”Belmashpribor”. A patent for the rotor system is planned to be submitted.

Meeting ISTC Goals and Objectives.

The project meets ICTC goals and objectives, since it:

- provides weapon scientists and engineers in Belarus opportunities to redirect their talents to peaceful activities via a development of unique rotor systems for fundamental research in physics with synchrotron radiation;

- promotes the integration of the participants of the project, having a long-year experience in Mössbauer spectroscopy, into the international scientific community via involving them in the intensively developing field of nuclear resonant scattering of synchrotron radiation;
- supports basic and applied research, aimed at the implementation of experiments with rotor systems, including the research in the Republic of Belarus. The rotor systems for physical experiments, on the contrary to rotor systems for military purposes, have to provide extremely high linear speeds, but not so large centripetal accelerations. Their development opens a long-term trend to involve the high-qualified specialists of ”Belmashpribor” in the realization of international scientific programs, including experiments with synchrotron radiation;
- reinforces the transition to market-based economies of the participants of the project and creates a basis for serial production of high-stability rotor systems with extremely high speeds on a self-financing basis according to orders from scientific laboratories, realizing fundamental and applied physical research.

Outline scope of activities.

The project will be realized by two institutions: the Belarusian State University (Minsk) and the concern ”Belmashpribor” (Minsk). The duration of the project is 30 months. The total project efforts are 168 man/months, among them 140 man/months for weapon scientists. In the course of the project implementation six main tasks will be solved (see Technical Approach and Methodology, below). The specialists from both institutions will take part in solving all of the tasks.

Role of foreign collaborators.

The scope and the forms of cooperation with the foreign collaborators are the following:

Universität Rostock and Technische Universität München provide:

- information exchange in the course of the project implementation;

- comments to the technical reports, submitted by project participants to the ISTC;
- conduction of joint seminars and workshops;
- joint use of equipment at accelerators for test measurements at the synchrotron radiation source ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) in Grenoble (France);
- participation in technical monitoring of project activities performed by ISTC staff;
- joint test measurements of a rotor system with respect to its vibration stability, absorption of radiation and small-angle scattering;
- joint use of equipment for preparing homogeneous samples with uniaxial magnetic anisotropy; joint characterization of the samples by means of x-ray diffraction, Mössbauer spectroscopy, and magneto-optic measurements;
- joint adaption of the rotor system taking into account the special requirements of the synchrotron radiation source ESRF;
- coordination of beamtime for the performance of the experiments within the framework of the project; about 700 hours of beamtime at ESRF will be required;
- joint implementation of the experiment for a measurement of the CETs energy shift.

Technical Approach and Methodology.

Task 1 (Selection of optimal experimental conditions). Values of most experimental parameters have already been determined. The main attention will be given to a method with increased measuring sensitivity, where the time response from the foils is additionally modulated by a fast quantum beat pattern. The achievable relative energy resolution is expected to be about 10-16. This is sufficient for a reliable measurement of the predicted CETs effects.

Task 2 (Rotor stability). The required stability of the rotational frequency and the stability of radial dimensions of the rotor will be reached by the application of titanium alloys and by continuous stabilization of the rotational frequency. Such a rotor will be designed and constructed at «Belmashpribor».

Task 3 (Target preparations). Targets will be prepared as homogeneous films by means of sputter deposition techniques available at the Universität Rostock. The samples will be characterized by means of x-ray diffraction, Mössbauer spectroscopy and magneto-optical measurements using equipment, which is available at the Universität Rostock and at BSU.

Task 4 (Test measurements in lab). Principal attention will be given to the stability of the rotational frequency and of the radial dimensions of the rotor. For the estimation of the parameters concerning the variations of the rotor's radius an interferometric method will be applied.

Task 5 (Test measurements with synchrotron radiation). Attention will be given to increase the effect/background ratio in the experiment. For this purpose the «Lighthouse» effect will be used, where the time evolution of a nuclear exciton can be mapped on an angular scale. A special slit system for the separation of resonant radiation from background radiation will be developed and tested. In additional tests the implementation of the equipment into the particular beamline will be checked.

Task 6 (Performance of experiment). The experiment will be performed at the beamline ID18 of the ESRF. This beamline provides most parts of the infrastructure required for the realization of the experiment (focusing devices, high-resolution monochromators etc.). After a total measuring time of about 14 days, the statistical quality of the spectra is expected to be sufficient to provide a sensitive test for the effects at the level of DE/E»3×10-16, predicted by the CETs.


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