Research Article

Proton Structure from the Measurement of 2S-2P Transition Frequencies of Muonic Hydrogen

Science  25 Jan 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6118, pp. 417-420
DOI: 10.1126/science.1230016

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Abstract

Accurate knowledge of the charge and Zemach radii of the proton is essential, not only for understanding its structure but also as input for tests of bound-state quantum electrodynamics and its predictions for the energy levels of hydrogen. These radii may be extracted from the laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen (μp, that is, a proton orbited by a muon). We measured the 2S1/2F=0-2P3/2F=1 transition frequency in μp to be 54611.16(1.05) gigahertz (numbers in parentheses indicate one standard deviation of uncertainty) and reevaluated the 2S1/2F=1-2P3/2F=2 transition frequency, yielding 49881.35(65) gigahertz. From the measurements, we determined the Zemach radius, rZ = 1.082(37) femtometers, and the magnetic radius, rM = 0.87(6) femtometer, of the proton. We also extracted the charge radius, rE = 0.84087(39) femtometer, with an order of magnitude more precision than the 2010-CODATA value and at 7σ variance with respect to it, thus reinforcing the proton radius puzzle.

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