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Title: A limit on the variation of the speed of light arising from quantum gravity effects

Abstract

A cornerstone of Einstein's special relativity is Lorentz invariance—the postulate that all observers measure exactly the same speed of light in vacuum, independent of photon-energy. While special relativity assumes that there is no fundamental length-scale associated with such invariance, there is a fundamental scale (the Planck scale, l Planck ≈ 1.62 x 10 -33 cm or E Planck = M Planckc 2 ≈ 1.22 x 10 19 GeV), at which quantum effects are expected to strongly affect the nature of space–time. There is great interest in the (not yet validated) idea that Lorentz invariance might break near the Planck scale. A key test of such violation of Lorentz invariance is a possible variation of photon speed with energy. Even a tiny variation in photon speed, when accumulated over cosmological light-travel times, may be revealed by observing sharp features in γ-ray burst (GRB) light-curves. In this paper, we report the detection of emission up to ~31 GeV from the distant and short GRB 090510. We find no evidence for the violation of Lorentz invariance, and place a lower limit of 1.2E Planck on the scale of a linear energy dependence (or an inverse wavelength dependence), subject to reasonable assumptions about themore » emission (equivalently we have an upper limit of l Planck/1.2 on the length scale of the effect). Finally, our results disfavour quantum-gravity theories in which the quantum nature of space–time on a very small scale linearly alters the speed of light.« less

Authors:
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Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
Contributing Org.:
Fermi LAT Collaboration; Fermi GBM Collaboration
OSTI Identifier:
1357435
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-76SF00515
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature (London)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Nature (London); Journal Volume: 462; Journal Issue: 7271; Journal ID: ISSN 0028-0836
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS

Citation Formats

Abdo, A. A., Ackermann, M., Ajello, M., Asano, K., Atwood, W. B., Axelsson, M., Baldini, L., Ballet, J., Barbiellini, G., Baring, M. G., Bastieri, D., Bechtol, K., Bellazzini, R., Berenji, B., Bhat, P. N., Bissaldi, E., Bloom, E. D., Bonamente, E., Bonnell, J., Borgland, A. W., Bouvier, A., Bregeon, J., Brez, A., Briggs, M. S., Brigida, M., Bruel, P., Burgess, J. M., Burnett, T. H., Caliandro, G. A., Cameron, R. A., Caraveo, P. A., Casandjian, J. M., Cecchi, C., Çelik, Ö., Chaplin, V., Charles, E., Cheung, C. C., Chiang, J., Ciprini, S., Claus, R., Cohen-Tanugi, J., Cominsky, L. R., Connaughton, V., Conrad, J., Cutini, S., Dermer, C. D., de Angelis, A., de Palma, F., Digel, S. W., Dingus, B. L., do Couto e Silva, E., Drell, P. S., Dubois, R., Dumora, D., Farnier, C., Favuzzi, C., Fegan, S. J., Finke, J., Fishman, G., Focke, W. B., Foschini, L., Fukazawa, Y., Funk, S., Fusco, P., Gargano, F., Gasparrini, D., Gehrels, N., Germani, S., Gibby, L., Giebels, B., Giglietto, N., Giordano, F., Glanzman, T., Godfrey, G., Granot, J., Greiner, J., Grenier, I. A., Grondin, M. -H., Grove, J. E., Grupe, D., Guillemot, L., Guiriec, S., Hanabata, Y., Harding, A. K., Hayashida, M., Hays, E., Hoversten, E. A., Hughes, R. E., Jóhannesson, G., Johnson, A. S., Johnson, R. P., Johnson, W. N., Kamae, T., Katagiri, H., Kataoka, J., Kawai, N., Kerr, M., Kippen, R. M., Knödlseder, J., Kocevski, D., Kouveliotou, C., Kuehn, F., Kuss, M., Lande, J., Latronico, L., Lemoine-Goumard, M., Longo, F., Loparco, F., Lott, B., Lovellette, M. N., Lubrano, P., Madejski, G. M., Makeev, A., Mazziotta, M. N., McBreen, S., McEnery, J. E., McGlynn, S., Mészáros, P., Meurer, C., Michelson, P. F., Mitthumsiri, W., Mizuno, T., Moiseev, A. A., Monte, C., Monzani, M. E., Moretti, E., Morselli, A., Moskalenko, I. V., Murgia, S., Nakamori, T., Nolan, P. L., Norris, J. P., Nuss, E., Ohno, M., Ohsugi, T., Omodei, N., Orlando, E., Ormes, J. F., Ozaki, M., Paciesas, W. S., Paneque, D., Panetta, J. H., Parent, D., Pelassa, V., Pepe, M., Pesce-Rollins, M., Petrosian, V., Piron, F., Porter, T. A., Preece, R., Rainò, S., Ramirez-Ruiz, E., Rando, R., Razzano, M., Razzaque, S., Reimer, A., Reimer, O., Reposeur, T., Ritz, S., Rochester, L. S., Rodriguez, A. Y., Roth, M., Ryde, F., Sadrozinski, H. F. -W., Sanchez, D., Sander, A., Saz Parkinson, P. M., Scargle, J. D., Schalk, T. L., Sgrò, C., Siskind, E. J., Smith, D. A., Smith, P. D., Spandre, G., Spinelli, P., Stamatikos, M., Stecker, F. W., Strickman, M. S., Suson, D. J., Tajima, H., Takahashi, H., Takahashi, T., Tanaka, T., Thayer, J. B., Thayer, J. G., Thompson, D. J., Tibaldo, L., Toma, K., Torres, D. F., Tosti, G., Troja, E., Uchiyama, Y., Uehara, T., Usher, T. L., van der Horst, A. J., Vasileiou, V., Vilchez, N., Vitale, V., von Kienlin, A., Waite, A. P., Wang, P., Wilson-Hodge, C., Winer, B. L., Wood, K. S., Wu, X. F., Yamazaki, R., Ylinen, T., and Ziegler, M. A limit on the variation of the speed of light arising from quantum gravity effects. United States: N. p., 2009. Web. doi:10.1038/nature08574.
Abdo, A. A., Ackermann, M., Ajello, M., Asano, K., Atwood, W. B., Axelsson, M., Baldini, L., Ballet, J., Barbiellini, G., Baring, M. G., Bastieri, D., Bechtol, K., Bellazzini, R., Berenji, B., Bhat, P. N., Bissaldi, E., Bloom, E. D., Bonamente, E., Bonnell, J., Borgland, A. W., Bouvier, A., Bregeon, J., Brez, A., Briggs, M. S., Brigida, M., Bruel, P., Burgess, J. M., Burnett, T. H., Caliandro, G. A., Cameron, R. A., Caraveo, P. A., Casandjian, J. M., Cecchi, C., Çelik, Ö., Chaplin, V., Charles, E., Cheung, C. C., Chiang, J., Ciprini, S., Claus, R., Cohen-Tanugi, J., Cominsky, L. R., Connaughton, V., Conrad, J., Cutini, S., Dermer, C. D., de Angelis, A., de Palma, F., Digel, S. W., Dingus, B. L., do Couto e Silva, E., Drell, P. S., Dubois, R., Dumora, D., Farnier, C., Favuzzi, C., Fegan, S. J., Finke, J., Fishman, G., Focke, W. B., Foschini, L., Fukazawa, Y., Funk, S., Fusco, P., Gargano, F., Gasparrini, D., Gehrels, N., Germani, S., Gibby, L., Giebels, B., Giglietto, N., Giordano, F., Glanzman, T., Godfrey, G., Granot, J., Greiner, J., Grenier, I. A., Grondin, M. -H., Grove, J. E., Grupe, D., Guillemot, L., Guiriec, S., Hanabata, Y., Harding, A. K., Hayashida, M., Hays, E., Hoversten, E. A., Hughes, R. E., Jóhannesson, G., Johnson, A. S., Johnson, R. P., Johnson, W. N., Kamae, T., Katagiri, H., Kataoka, J., Kawai, N., Kerr, M., Kippen, R. M., Knödlseder, J., Kocevski, D., Kouveliotou, C., Kuehn, F., Kuss, M., Lande, J., Latronico, L., Lemoine-Goumard, M., Longo, F., Loparco, F., Lott, B., Lovellette, M. N., Lubrano, P., Madejski, G. M., Makeev, A., Mazziotta, M. N., McBreen, S., McEnery, J. E., McGlynn, S., Mészáros, P., Meurer, C., Michelson, P. F., Mitthumsiri, W., Mizuno, T., Moiseev, A. A., Monte, C., Monzani, M. E., Moretti, E., Morselli, A., Moskalenko, I. V., Murgia, S., Nakamori, T., Nolan, P. L., Norris, J. P., Nuss, E., Ohno, M., Ohsugi, T., Omodei, N., Orlando, E., Ormes, J. F., Ozaki, M., Paciesas, W. S., Paneque, D., Panetta, J. H., Parent, D., Pelassa, V., Pepe, M., Pesce-Rollins, M., Petrosian, V., Piron, F., Porter, T. A., Preece, R., Rainò, S., Ramirez-Ruiz, E., Rando, R., Razzano, M., Razzaque, S., Reimer, A., Reimer, O., Reposeur, T., Ritz, S., Rochester, L. S., Rodriguez, A. Y., Roth, M., Ryde, F., Sadrozinski, H. F. -W., Sanchez, D., Sander, A., Saz Parkinson, P. M., Scargle, J. D., Schalk, T. L., Sgrò, C., Siskind, E. J., Smith, D. A., Smith, P. D., Spandre, G., Spinelli, P., Stamatikos, M., Stecker, F. W., Strickman, M. S., Suson, D. J., Tajima, H., Takahashi, H., Takahashi, T., Tanaka, T., Thayer, J. B., Thayer, J. G., Thompson, D. J., Tibaldo, L., Toma, K., Torres, D. F., Tosti, G., Troja, E., Uchiyama, Y., Uehara, T., Usher, T. L., van der Horst, A. J., Vasileiou, V., Vilchez, N., Vitale, V., von Kienlin, A., Waite, A. P., Wang, P., Wilson-Hodge, C., Winer, B. L., Wood, K. S., Wu, X. F., Yamazaki, R., Ylinen, T., & Ziegler, M. A limit on the variation of the speed of light arising from quantum gravity effects. United States. doi:10.1038/nature08574.
Abdo, A. A., Ackermann, M., Ajello, M., Asano, K., Atwood, W. B., Axelsson, M., Baldini, L., Ballet, J., Barbiellini, G., Baring, M. G., Bastieri, D., Bechtol, K., Bellazzini, R., Berenji, B., Bhat, P. N., Bissaldi, E., Bloom, E. D., Bonamente, E., Bonnell, J., Borgland, A. W., Bouvier, A., Bregeon, J., Brez, A., Briggs, M. S., Brigida, M., Bruel, P., Burgess, J. M., Burnett, T. H., Caliandro, G. A., Cameron, R. A., Caraveo, P. A., Casandjian, J. M., Cecchi, C., Çelik, Ö., Chaplin, V., Charles, E., Cheung, C. C., Chiang, J., Ciprini, S., Claus, R., Cohen-Tanugi, J., Cominsky, L. R., Connaughton, V., Conrad, J., Cutini, S., Dermer, C. D., de Angelis, A., de Palma, F., Digel, S. W., Dingus, B. L., do Couto e Silva, E., Drell, P. S., Dubois, R., Dumora, D., Farnier, C., Favuzzi, C., Fegan, S. J., Finke, J., Fishman, G., Focke, W. B., Foschini, L., Fukazawa, Y., Funk, S., Fusco, P., Gargano, F., Gasparrini, D., Gehrels, N., Germani, S., Gibby, L., Giebels, B., Giglietto, N., Giordano, F., Glanzman, T., Godfrey, G., Granot, J., Greiner, J., Grenier, I. A., Grondin, M. -H., Grove, J. E., Grupe, D., Guillemot, L., Guiriec, S., Hanabata, Y., Harding, A. K., Hayashida, M., Hays, E., Hoversten, E. A., Hughes, R. E., Jóhannesson, G., Johnson, A. S., Johnson, R. P., Johnson, W. N., Kamae, T., Katagiri, H., Kataoka, J., Kawai, N., Kerr, M., Kippen, R. M., Knödlseder, J., Kocevski, D., Kouveliotou, C., Kuehn, F., Kuss, M., Lande, J., Latronico, L., Lemoine-Goumard, M., Longo, F., Loparco, F., Lott, B., Lovellette, M. N., Lubrano, P., Madejski, G. M., Makeev, A., Mazziotta, M. N., McBreen, S., McEnery, J. E., McGlynn, S., Mészáros, P., Meurer, C., Michelson, P. F., Mitthumsiri, W., Mizuno, T., Moiseev, A. A., Monte, C., Monzani, M. E., Moretti, E., Morselli, A., Moskalenko, I. V., Murgia, S., Nakamori, T., Nolan, P. L., Norris, J. P., Nuss, E., Ohno, M., Ohsugi, T., Omodei, N., Orlando, E., Ormes, J. F., Ozaki, M., Paciesas, W. S., Paneque, D., Panetta, J. H., Parent, D., Pelassa, V., Pepe, M., Pesce-Rollins, M., Petrosian, V., Piron, F., Porter, T. A., Preece, R., Rainò, S., Ramirez-Ruiz, E., Rando, R., Razzano, M., Razzaque, S., Reimer, A., Reimer, O., Reposeur, T., Ritz, S., Rochester, L. S., Rodriguez, A. Y., Roth, M., Ryde, F., Sadrozinski, H. F. -W., Sanchez, D., Sander, A., Saz Parkinson, P. M., Scargle, J. D., Schalk, T. L., Sgrò, C., Siskind, E. J., Smith, D. A., Smith, P. D., Spandre, G., Spinelli, P., Stamatikos, M., Stecker, F. W., Strickman, M. S., Suson, D. J., Tajima, H., Takahashi, H., Takahashi, T., Tanaka, T., Thayer, J. B., Thayer, J. G., Thompson, D. J., Tibaldo, L., Toma, K., Torres, D. F., Tosti, G., Troja, E., Uchiyama, Y., Uehara, T., Usher, T. L., van der Horst, A. J., Vasileiou, V., Vilchez, N., Vitale, V., von Kienlin, A., Waite, A. P., Wang, P., Wilson-Hodge, C., Winer, B. L., Wood, K. S., Wu, X. F., Yamazaki, R., Ylinen, T., and Ziegler, M. Wed . "A limit on the variation of the speed of light arising from quantum gravity effects". United States. doi:10.1038/nature08574. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1357435.
@article{osti_1357435,
title = {A limit on the variation of the speed of light arising from quantum gravity effects},
author = {Abdo, A. A. and Ackermann, M. and Ajello, M. and Asano, K. and Atwood, W. B. and Axelsson, M. and Baldini, L. and Ballet, J. and Barbiellini, G. and Baring, M. G. and Bastieri, D. and Bechtol, K. and Bellazzini, R. and Berenji, B. and Bhat, P. N. and Bissaldi, E. and Bloom, E. D. and Bonamente, E. and Bonnell, J. and Borgland, A. W. and Bouvier, A. and Bregeon, J. and Brez, A. and Briggs, M. S. and Brigida, M. and Bruel, P. and Burgess, J. M. and Burnett, T. H. and Caliandro, G. A. and Cameron, R. A. and Caraveo, P. A. and Casandjian, J. M. and Cecchi, C. and Çelik, Ö. and Chaplin, V. and Charles, E. and Cheung, C. C. and Chiang, J. and Ciprini, S. and Claus, R. and Cohen-Tanugi, J. and Cominsky, L. R. and Connaughton, V. and Conrad, J. and Cutini, S. and Dermer, C. D. and de Angelis, A. and de Palma, F. and Digel, S. W. and Dingus, B. L. and do Couto e Silva, E. and Drell, P. S. and Dubois, R. and Dumora, D. and Farnier, C. and Favuzzi, C. and Fegan, S. J. and Finke, J. and Fishman, G. and Focke, W. B. and Foschini, L. and Fukazawa, Y. and Funk, S. and Fusco, P. and Gargano, F. and Gasparrini, D. and Gehrels, N. and Germani, S. and Gibby, L. and Giebels, B. and Giglietto, N. and Giordano, F. and Glanzman, T. and Godfrey, G. and Granot, J. and Greiner, J. and Grenier, I. A. and Grondin, M. -H. and Grove, J. E. and Grupe, D. and Guillemot, L. and Guiriec, S. and Hanabata, Y. and Harding, A. K. and Hayashida, M. and Hays, E. and Hoversten, E. A. and Hughes, R. E. and Jóhannesson, G. and Johnson, A. S. and Johnson, R. P. and Johnson, W. N. and Kamae, T. and Katagiri, H. and Kataoka, J. and Kawai, N. and Kerr, M. and Kippen, R. M. and Knödlseder, J. and Kocevski, D. and Kouveliotou, C. and Kuehn, F. and Kuss, M. and Lande, J. and Latronico, L. and Lemoine-Goumard, M. and Longo, F. and Loparco, F. and Lott, B. and Lovellette, M. N. and Lubrano, P. and Madejski, G. M. and Makeev, A. and Mazziotta, M. N. and McBreen, S. and McEnery, J. E. and McGlynn, S. and Mészáros, P. and Meurer, C. and Michelson, P. F. and Mitthumsiri, W. and Mizuno, T. and Moiseev, A. A. and Monte, C. and Monzani, M. E. and Moretti, E. and Morselli, A. and Moskalenko, I. V. and Murgia, S. and Nakamori, T. and Nolan, P. L. and Norris, J. P. and Nuss, E. and Ohno, M. and Ohsugi, T. and Omodei, N. and Orlando, E. and Ormes, J. F. and Ozaki, M. and Paciesas, W. S. and Paneque, D. and Panetta, J. H. and Parent, D. and Pelassa, V. and Pepe, M. and Pesce-Rollins, M. and Petrosian, V. and Piron, F. and Porter, T. A. and Preece, R. and Rainò, S. and Ramirez-Ruiz, E. and Rando, R. and Razzano, M. and Razzaque, S. and Reimer, A. and Reimer, O. and Reposeur, T. and Ritz, S. and Rochester, L. S. and Rodriguez, A. Y. and Roth, M. and Ryde, F. and Sadrozinski, H. F. -W. and Sanchez, D. and Sander, A. and Saz Parkinson, P. M. and Scargle, J. D. and Schalk, T. L. and Sgrò, C. and Siskind, E. J. and Smith, D. A. and Smith, P. D. and Spandre, G. and Spinelli, P. and Stamatikos, M. and Stecker, F. W. and Strickman, M. S. and Suson, D. J. and Tajima, H. and Takahashi, H. and Takahashi, T. and Tanaka, T. and Thayer, J. B. and Thayer, J. G. and Thompson, D. J. and Tibaldo, L. and Toma, K. and Torres, D. F. and Tosti, G. and Troja, E. and Uchiyama, Y. and Uehara, T. and Usher, T. L. and van der Horst, A. J. and Vasileiou, V. and Vilchez, N. and Vitale, V. and von Kienlin, A. and Waite, A. P. and Wang, P. and Wilson-Hodge, C. and Winer, B. L. and Wood, K. S. and Wu, X. F. and Yamazaki, R. and Ylinen, T. and Ziegler, M.},
abstractNote = {A cornerstone of Einstein's special relativity is Lorentz invariance—the postulate that all observers measure exactly the same speed of light in vacuum, independent of photon-energy. While special relativity assumes that there is no fundamental length-scale associated with such invariance, there is a fundamental scale (the Planck scale, lPlanck ≈ 1.62 x 10-33 cm or EPlanck = MPlanckc2 ≈ 1.22 x 1019 GeV), at which quantum effects are expected to strongly affect the nature of space–time. There is great interest in the (not yet validated) idea that Lorentz invariance might break near the Planck scale. A key test of such violation of Lorentz invariance is a possible variation of photon speed with energy. Even a tiny variation in photon speed, when accumulated over cosmological light-travel times, may be revealed by observing sharp features in γ-ray burst (GRB) light-curves. In this paper, we report the detection of emission up to ~31 GeV from the distant and short GRB 090510. We find no evidence for the violation of Lorentz invariance, and place a lower limit of 1.2EPlanck on the scale of a linear energy dependence (or an inverse wavelength dependence), subject to reasonable assumptions about the emission (equivalently we have an upper limit of lPlanck/1.2 on the length scale of the effect). Finally, our results disfavour quantum-gravity theories in which the quantum nature of space–time on a very small scale linearly alters the speed of light.},
doi = {10.1038/nature08574},
journal = {Nature (London)},
number = 7271,
volume = 462,
place = {United States},
year = {2009},
month = {10}
}

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