A Michelson-Morley resonant cavity test of Lorentz invariance

Stephen Parker

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    308 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] This thesis describes the design, operation and analysis of the second generation Michelson-Morley experiment at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and Humboldt University of Berlin. The experiment compares the resonant frequencies of a pair of orthogonally aligned cryogenic sapphire oscillators as they are actively rotated in the laboratory. Possible violations of Lorentz invariance will manifest as orientation dependent deviations of the phase velocity of light in vacuum from the canonical value. We use the time dependent beat frequency data to express these possible Lorentz violations as limits placed on coefficients of the Standard Model Extension (SME). The previous generation UWA Michelson-Morley experiment collected data over the course of a year (2005) and constrained the anisotropic shift in the speed of light, Δv0/ v0, to parts in 10-15 and bounded eight of the nine nonbirefringent coefficients of the minimal photon sector SME. In this work we improve on these results by revisiting the data analysis of the experiment. A weighted differential analysis technique was developed and applied to the first generation data, which improved the bounds by up to a factor of four. Also the sensitivity of a symmetric resonant cavity Michelson-Morley experiment to the isotropic shift parameter K~ tr was explicitly derived for the first time allowing all nine nonbirefringent coefficients to be simultaneously bound by the same experiment.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2011


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