Eugene D. Commins

Professor Emeritus
Atomic Experiment

Research Interests

Formerly atomic experiment. 

Current Projects

After about 15 years of effort, we recently completed a lengthy experimental search for the electric dipole moment (EDM) of the electron. This quantity is of interest in connection with CP violation and extensions to the standard model of particle physics. The experimental methods were those of low-energy atomic physics: atomic beams, laser spectroscopy , optical pumping, and radio-frequency magnetic resonance. We did not find a non-zero EDM, but our upper limit on it is very small, and can be used to place tight constraints on various extensions of the standard model, for example supersymmetry.

At this point, I have done the best I can on this type of research and coincident with retirement I now leave it, in the hope that younger researchers will find new methods to advance it further. After some rest and reflection, I would like to take up some new research, in the field of astrophysics. In particular, I am interested in the recent remarkable observations of distant Type 1A supernovae, and would like to study some of the many interesting physical problems associated with these observations. This means that I must become a student once again. Here, I hope that the adage: " you can’t teach an old dog new tricks" will not render my efforts futile.

Selected Publications

B. C. Regan, E. D.Commins, C. J. Schmidt, and D. DeMille, "New limit on the electron electric dipole moment," submitted to Phys. Rev. Lett. (August 2001).

E. D. Commins, "Electric dipole moments of leptons," in Advances in Atomic , Molecular, and Optical Physics, Vol. 40, B. Bederson and H. Walther (Eds.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 1-56 (1999).

E. D. Commins, S. B. Ross, D. DeMille, and B. C. Regan, "Improved experimental limit on the electric dipole moment of the electron," Phys. Rev. A50, 2960 (1994).

E. D. Commins, "Resource Letter ETDSTS-1: Experimental tests of the discrete space-time symmetries," Am J. Phys. 61, 778 (1993).

E. D. Commins, "Berry’s geometric phase and motional fields," Am. J. Phys. 59, 1077 (1991).