Einstein’s Complete Theory: A Breakthrough in Particle Physics

More than a century after its first appearance, scientists have completed Einstein’s homework on special relativity in electromagnetism.

Researchers at Osaka University have shown that the relativistic electric field contraction produced by fast-moving charged particles, as predicted by Einstein’s theory, could help advance research in particle and radiation physics.

More than a century ago, one of the most famous modern physicists, Albert Einstein, proposed his groundbreaking theory of special relativity. Most of everything we know about the universe is based on this theory, but some of it has yet to be proven experimentally. graduate who Osaka University The Institute of Laser Engineering has used for the first time ultrafast electro-optical measurements to visualize the contracting electric field surrounding a beam of electrons traveling near the speed of light and to demonstrate the generation process.

According to Einstein’s special theory of relativity, a “Lorentz transform” that combines the coordinates of space and time must be used to describe the motion of an object passing in front of an observer at speeds close to the speed of light. He was able to explain how these transformations produce self-consistent electric and magnetic field equations.

Mentre vari effetti relativistici sono stati dimostrati molte volte con un livello molto alto di sperimentazione[{”attribute=””>accuratezzacisonoancorapartidellarelativitàchedevonoancoraessererivelatenegliesperimentiIroniadellasorteunodiquestièlacontrazionedelcampoelettricocheèrappresentatocomeunfenomenodirelativitàspecialenell’elettromagnetismo[{”attribute=””>accuracytherearestillpartsofrelativitythathaveyettoberevealedinexperimentsIronicallyoneoftheseisthecontractionoftheelectricfieldwhichisrepresentedasaspecialrelativityphenomenoninelectromagnetism[{”attribute=””>accuratezzacisonoancorapartidellarelativitàchedevonoancoraessererivelatenegliesperimentiIroniadellasorteunodiquestièlacontrazionedelcampoelettricocheèrappresentatocomeunfenomenodirelativitàspecialenell’elettromagnetismo[{”attribute=””>accuracytherearestillpartsofrelativitythathaveyettoberevealedinexperimentsIronicallyoneoftheseisthecontractionoftheelectricfieldwhichisrepresentedasaspecialrelativityphenomenoninelectromagnetism

Illustration of the formation process of planar electric field contraction accompanying the propagation of an electron beam at the speed of light (shown as an ellipse in the figure). Credits: Masato Ota, Makoto Nakajima

Now, the research team from Osaka University has experimentally demonstrated this effect for the first time. They accomplished this feat by measuring the profile of the Coulomb field in space and time around a high-energy electron beam generated by a linear particle accelerator. Using ultrafast electro-optical sampling, they were able to record the electric field with extremely high temporal resolution.

It has been reported that the Lorentz transformations of time and space, as well as those of energy and momentum, have been demonstrated by time dilation experiments and rest mass energy experiments, respectively. Here, the team looked at a similar relativistic effect called electric field contraction, which corresponds to the Lorentz transformation of electromagnetic potentials.

“We have visualized the contraction of an electric field around a beam of electrons that propagates at a speed close to the speed of light,” says Professor Makoto Nakajima, project leader. Furthermore, the team observed the contraction process of the electric field immediately after the electron beam crossed a metal boundary.

While developing the theory of relativity, Einstein is said to have used thought experiments to imagine what it would be like to ride a wave of light. “There is something poetic about demonstrating the relativistic effect of electric fields more than 100 years after Einstein predicted it,” says Professor Nakajima. “Electric fields were in the first place a crucial element in the formation of the theory of relativity.”

This research, with observations that closely match Einstein’s predictions of special relativity in electromagnetism, can serve as a platform for measurements of energetic particle beams and other high-energy physics experiments.

Reference: “Ultrafast Visualization of an Electric Field Under the Lorentz Transform” by Masato Ota, Koichi Kan, Soichiro Komada, Youwei Wang, Truth C. Agulto, Valynn Katrine Mag-usara, Yasunobu Arikawa, Makoto R. Asakawa, Youichi Sakawa, Tatsunosuke Matsui and Makoto Nakajima October 20, 2022, DOI: 10.1038/s41567-022-01767-w

The study was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the NIFS Collaborative Research Program.

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