In the section Atomic and Molecular Physics, the first Editor’s Challenge involves exploring and advancing the many areas of contemporary A&M physics which impact on the type of fundamental physics research that has traditionally been performed using large scale facilities.
Over the last few decades fundamental physics studies have predominantly been performed using high energy facilities and techniques, and via exploring the Universe using astronomical and cosmological observatories. However, there is a long-standing, and rapidly growing, realization that small-scale, so-called “table-top”, investigations – particularly in A&M physics and related areas – can contribute to important and sensitive searches for new science. Our current understanding of the Universe is built upon quantum mechanics, governing the electroweak and nuclear interactions, and General Relativity, for the gravitational interaction. The former was founded by the study of atomic systems, including the elucidation of atomic and molecular structure, particle spin and antimatter and the discovery of the Lamb Shift and the foundations of quantum electrodynamics. The continued development of new technologies and techniques built around the control and manipulation of atomic and molecular species (including technologies that directly utilize quantum effects), together with access to sources of antiparticles, such as positrons, muons and antiprotons, means that this field is both dynamic and at the forefront of contemporary physics and its applications.
With the launch of this Editor’s Challenge topic, we intend to showcase the variety of studies in this area and their actual, and potential for, impact upon our understanding of some of the most basic principles and questions in physics. Many aspects of A&M physics enjoy a close rapport between experiment and theory, and the support of a variety of theoretical investigations will be invaluable going forward. We are keen to receive contributions reporting new results and/or significant reinterpretation of previous data and papers exploring and advancing new techniques and technologies, both experimental and theoretical. We welcome a range of article types including Original Research, Review and Perspective.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
• General Relativity and gravitational studies involving atomic systems
• Particle electric dipole moments and tests of fundamental symmetries using atomic systems
• Precision measurements and frequency comparisons and their applications
• A&M Physics-based searches for dark matter, dark energy and fifth forces
• Antiparticles, atomic antimatter and other atomic systems and containing antiparticles
• Atomic clocks and standards
• Fundamental constants and searches for their variation
• The physics of simple atoms and molecules
• Underlying theoretical and experimental techniques, including quantum science and quantum technologiesThe Specialty Chief Editors of Frontiers in Physics launch a new series of Research Topics to highlight current challenges across the field of Physics. Other titles in the series are:
Editor's Challenge in Radiation Detectors and Imaging: Emerging Technologies
Editor's Challenge in Social Physics: Misinformation and Cooperation
Editor's Challenge in Interdisciplinary Physics: What is Interdisciplinary Physics?
Editor's Challenge in Quantum Engineering and Technology: Economic Impact and Perspectives of Quantum Technologies
Editor's Challenge in Optics and Photonics: Advancing Electronics with Photonics