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The muon (ˈmjuːɒn; from the Greek
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

 letter mu
Mu (letter)
Carlos Alberto Vives Restrepo is a Grammy Award and three-time Latin Grammy Award winning-Colombian singer, composer and actor.-Biography:...

 (μ) used to represent it) is an elementary particle
Elementary particle
In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle not known to have substructure; that is, it is not known to be made up of smaller particles. If an elementary particle truly has no substructure, then it is one of the basic building blocks of the universe from which...

 similar to the electron
Electron
The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

, with a unitary negative electric charge
Electric charge
Electric charge is a physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when near other electrically charged matter. Electric charge comes in two types, called positive and negative. Two positively charged substances, or objects, experience a mutual repulsive force, as do two...

 and a spin
Spin (physics)
In quantum mechanics and particle physics, spin is a fundamental characteristic property of elementary particles, composite particles , and atomic nuclei.It is worth noting that the intrinsic property of subatomic particles called spin and discussed in this article, is related in some small ways,...

 of ½. Together with the electron
Electron
The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

, the tau, and the three neutrino
Neutrino
A neutrino is an electrically neutral, weakly interacting elementary subatomic particle with a half-integer spin, chirality and a disputed but small non-zero mass. It is able to pass through ordinary matter almost unaffected...

s, it is classified as a lepton
Lepton
A lepton is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. The best known of all leptons is the electron which governs nearly all of chemistry as it is found in atoms and is directly tied to all chemical properties. Two main classes of leptons exist: charged leptons , and neutral...

. As is the case with other leptons, the muon is not believed to have any sub-structure at all (i.e., is not thought to be composed of any simpler particles).

The muon is an unstable subatomic particle
Subatomic particle
In physics or chemistry, subatomic particles are the smaller particles composing nucleons and atoms. There are two types of subatomic particles: elementary particles, which are not made of other particles, and composite particles...

 with a mean lifetime of . This comparatively long decay life time (the second longest known) is due to being mediated by the weak interaction
Weak interaction
Weak interaction , is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, alongside the strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. It is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles and initiates the process known as hydrogen fusion in stars...

. The only longer lifetime for an unstable subatomic particle is that for the free neutron
Neutron
The neutron is a subatomic hadron particle which has the symbol or , no net electric charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton. With the exception of hydrogen, nuclei of atoms consist of protons and neutrons, which are therefore collectively referred to as nucleons. The number of...

, a baryon particle composed of quarks, which also decays via the weak force. All muons decay to three particles (an electron
Electron
The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

 plus two neutrino
Neutrino
A neutrino is an electrically neutral, weakly interacting elementary subatomic particle with a half-integer spin, chirality and a disputed but small non-zero mass. It is able to pass through ordinary matter almost unaffected...

s of different types), but the daughter particles are believed to originate newly in the decay.

Like all elementary particles, the muon has a corresponding antiparticle
Antiparticle
Corresponding to most kinds of particles, there is an associated antiparticle with the same mass and opposite electric charge. For example, the antiparticle of the electron is the positively charged antielectron, or positron, which is produced naturally in certain types of radioactive decay.The...

 of opposite charge but equal mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

 and spin: the antimuon (also called a positive muon). Muons are denoted by and antimuons by . Muons were previously called mu mesons, but are not classified as meson
Meson
In particle physics, mesons are subatomic particles composed of one quark and one antiquark, bound together by the strong interaction. Because mesons are composed of sub-particles, they have a physical size, with a radius roughly one femtometer: 10−15 m, which is about the size of a proton...

s by modern particle physicists (see History).

Muons have a mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

 of , which is about 200 times the mass of an electron. Since the muon's interactions are very similar to those of the electron, a muon can be thought of as a much heavier version of the electron. Due to their greater mass, muons are not as sharply accelerated when they encounter electromagnetic fields, and do not emit as much bremsstrahlung radiation
Bremsstrahlung
Bremsstrahlung is electromagnetic radiation produced by the deceleration of a charged particle when deflected by another charged particle, typically an electron by an atomic nucleus. The moving particle loses kinetic energy, which is converted into a photon because energy is conserved. The term is...

. This allows muons of a given energy to penetrate far more deeply into matter than electrons, since the deceleration of electrons and muons is primarily due to energy loss by the bremsstrahlung mechanism. As an example, so-called "secondary muons", generated by cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere, can penetrate to the Earth's surface, and even into deep mines.

Because muons have a very large mass and energy compared with the decay energy
Decay energy
The decay energy is the energy released by a radioactive decay. Radioactive decay is the process in which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by emitting ionizing particles and radiation...

 of radioactivity, they are never produced by radioactive decay
Radioactive decay
Radioactive decay is the process by which an atomic nucleus of an unstable atom loses energy by emitting ionizing particles . The emission is spontaneous, in that the atom decays without any physical interaction with another particle from outside the atom...

. They are, however, produced in copious amounts in high-energy interactions in normal matter, such as occur during certain particle accelerator
Particle accelerator
A particle accelerator is a device that uses electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles to high speeds and to contain them in well-defined beams. An ordinary CRT television set is a simple form of accelerator. There are two basic types: electrostatic and oscillating field accelerators.In...

 experiments with hadron
Hadron
In particle physics, a hadron is a composite particle made of quarks held together by the strong force...

s, and also naturally in cosmic ray
Cosmic ray
Cosmic rays are energetic charged subatomic particles, originating from outer space. They may produce secondary particles that penetrate the Earth's atmosphere and surface. The term ray is historical as cosmic rays were thought to be electromagnetic radiation...

 interactions with matter. These interactions usually first produce pi mesons, which then most often decay to muons.

As with the case of the other charged leptons, the muon has an associated muon neutrino
Muon neutrino
The muon neutrino is a subatomic lepton elementary particle which has the symbol and no net electric charge. Together with the muon it forms the second generation of leptons, hence its name muon neutrino. It was first hypothesized in the early 1940s by several people, and was discovered in 1962 by...

. Muon neutrinos are denoted by .

History


Muons were discovered by Carl D. Anderson and Seth Neddermeyer
Seth Neddermeyer
Seth Henry Neddermeyer was an American physicist who co-discovered the muon, and later championed the implosion design of the plutonium atomic bomb, at the Manhattan Project....

 at Caltech in 1936, while studying cosmic radiation. Anderson had noticed particles that curved differently from electrons and other known particles when passed through a magnetic field
Magnetic field
A magnetic field is a mathematical description of the magnetic influence of electric currents and magnetic materials. The magnetic field at any given point is specified by both a direction and a magnitude ; as such it is a vector field.Technically, a magnetic field is a pseudo vector;...

. They were negatively charged but curved less sharply than electrons, but more sharply than proton
Proton
The proton is a subatomic particle with the symbol or and a positive electric charge of 1 elementary charge. One or more protons are present in the nucleus of each atom, along with neutrons. The number of protons in each atom is its atomic number....

s, for particles of the same velocity. It was assumed that the magnitude of their negative electric charge was equal to that of the electron, and so to account for the difference in curvature, it was supposed that their mass was greater than an electron but smaller than a proton. Thus Anderson initially called the new particle a mesotron, adopting the prefix meso- from the Greek word for "mid-". Shortly thereafter, additional particles of intermediate mass were discovered, and the more general term meson was adopted to refer to any such particle. To differentiate between different types of mesons, the mesotron was in 1947 renamed the mu meson (the Greek letter μ (mu) corresponds to m).

It was soon found that the mu meson significantly differed from other mesons in that they did not interact with the nuclear force
Nuclear force
The nuclear force is the force between two or more nucleons. It is responsible for binding of protons and neutrons into atomic nuclei. The energy released causes the masses of nuclei to be less than the total mass of the protons and neutrons which form them...

. Also, the mu meson's decay products included a neutrino
Neutrino
A neutrino is an electrically neutral, weakly interacting elementary subatomic particle with a half-integer spin, chirality and a disputed but small non-zero mass. It is able to pass through ordinary matter almost unaffected...

 and an antineutrino, rather than just one or the other, as was observed with other mesons. Other mesons were eventually understood to be hadrons—that is, particles made of quarks—and thus subject to the nuclear force
Nuclear force
The nuclear force is the force between two or more nucleons. It is responsible for binding of protons and neutrons into atomic nuclei. The energy released causes the masses of nuclei to be less than the total mass of the protons and neutrons which form them...

. In the quark model, a meson is composed of exactly two quarks (a quark and antiquark), unlike baryon
Baryon
A baryon is a composite particle made up of three quarks . Baryons and mesons belong to the hadron family, which are the quark-based particles...

s, which are composed of three quarks. Mu mesons, however, were found to be fundamental particles (leptons) like electrons, with no quark structure. Thus, mu mesons were not mesons at all (in the new sense and use of the term meson), and so the term mu meson was abandoned, and replaced with the modern term muon.

Another particle (the pion
Pion
In particle physics, a pion is any of three subatomic particles: , , and . Pions are the lightest mesons and they play an important role in explaining the low-energy properties of the strong nuclear force....

, with which the muon was initially confused) had been predicted by theorist Hideki Yukawa
Hideki Yukawa
né , was a Japanese theoretical physicist and the first Japanese Nobel laureate.-Biography:Yukawa was born in Tokyo and grew up in Kyoto. In 1929, after receiving his degree from Kyoto Imperial University, he stayed on as a lecturer for four years. After graduation, he was interested in...

:

"It seems natural to modify the theory of Heisenberg and Fermi in the following way. The transition of a heavy particle from neutron state to proton state is not always accompanied by the emission of light particles. The transition is sometimes taken up by another heavy particle."

The existence of the muon was confirmed in 1937 by J. C. Street and E. C. Stevenson's cloud chamber experiment. The discovery of the mu-meson muon as a simple "heavy electron" seemed so incongruous and surprising at the time, that Nobel laureate I. I. Rabi famously quipped, "Who ordered that?"

In the Rossi–Hall experiment (1941), muons were used to observe the time dilation
Time dilation
In the theory of relativity, time dilation is an observed difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers either moving relative to each other or differently situated from gravitational masses. An accurate clock at rest with respect to one observer may be measured to tick at...

 (or alternately, length contraction
Length contraction
In physics, length contraction – according to Hendrik Lorentz – is the physical phenomenon of a decrease in length detected by an observer of objects that travel at any non-zero velocity relative to that observer...

) predicted by special relativity
Special relativity
Special relativity is the physical theory of measurement in an inertial frame of reference proposed in 1905 by Albert Einstein in the paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies".It generalizes Galileo's...

, for the first time.

Muon sources


Since the production of muons requires an available center of momentum frame
Center of momentum frame
A center-of-momentum frame of a system is any inertial frame in which the center of mass is at rest . Note that the center of momentum of a system is not a location, but rather defines a particular inertial frame...

 energy of 105.7 MeV, neither ordinary radioactive decay
Radioactive decay
Radioactive decay is the process by which an atomic nucleus of an unstable atom loses energy by emitting ionizing particles . The emission is spontaneous, in that the atom decays without any physical interaction with another particle from outside the atom...

 events nor nuclear fission and fusion events (such as those occurring in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons) are energetic enough to produce muons. Only nuclear fission produces single-nuclear-event energies in this range, but do not produce muons as the production of a single muon would violate the conservation of quantum numbers (see under "muon decay" below).

On Earth, most naturally occurring muons are created by cosmic rays, which consist mostly of protons, many arriving from deep space at very high energy
When a cosmic ray proton impacts atomic nuclei in the upper atmosphere, pions are created. These decay within a relatively short distance (meters) into muons (their preferred decay product), and neutrinos. The muons from these high energy cosmic rays generally continue in about the same direction as the original proton, at a velocity near the speed of light. Although their lifetime without relativistic effects would allow a half-survival distance of only about 0.66 km (660 meters) at most (as seen from Earth) the time dilation
Time dilation
In the theory of relativity, time dilation is an observed difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers either moving relative to each other or differently situated from gravitational masses. An accurate clock at rest with respect to one observer may be measured to tick at...

 effect of special relativity
Special relativity
Special relativity is the physical theory of measurement in an inertial frame of reference proposed in 1905 by Albert Einstein in the paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies".It generalizes Galileo's...

 (from the viewpoint of the Earth) allows cosmic ray secondary muons to survive the flight to the Earth's surface, since in the Earth frame, the muons have a longer half life due to their velocity. From the viewpoint (inertial frame) of the muon, on the other hand, it is the length contraction effect of special relativity which allows this penetration, since in the muon frame, its life time is unaffected, but the length contraction causes distances through the atmosphere and Earth to be far shorter than these distances in the Earth rest-frame. Both effects are equally valid ways of explaining the fast muon's unusual survival over distances.

Since muons are unusually penetrative of ordinary matter, like neutrinos, they are also detectable deep underground (700 meters at the Soudan II detector) and underwater, where they form a major part of the natural background ionizing radiation. Like cosmic rays, as noted, this secondary muon radiation is also directional.

The same nuclear reaction described above (i.e. hadron-hadron impacts to produce pion beams, which then quickly decay to muon beams over short distances) is used by particle physicists to produce muon beams, such as the beam used for the muon g − 2 experiment.

Muon decay




Muons are unstable elementary particles and are heavier than electrons and neutrinos but lighter than all other matter particles. They decay via the weak interaction
Weak interaction
Weak interaction , is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, alongside the strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. It is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles and initiates the process known as hydrogen fusion in stars...

. Because lepton number
Lepton number
In particle physics, the lepton number is the number of leptons minus the number of antileptons.In equation form,so all leptons have assigned a value of +1, antileptons −1, and non-leptonic particles 0...

s must be conserved, one of the product neutrinos of muon decay must be a muon-type neutrino and the other an electron-type antineutrino (antimuon decay produces the corresponding antiparticles, as detailed below). Because charge must be conserved, one of the products of muon decay is always an electron of the same charge as the muon (a positron if it is a positive muon). Thus all muons decay to at least an electron, and two neutrinos. Sometimes, besides these necessary products, additional other particles that have a net charge and spin of zero (e.g., a pair of photons, or an electron-positron pair), are produced.

The dominant muon decay mode (sometimes called the Michel decay after Louis Michel
Louis Michel (physicist)
Louis Michel was a French mathematical physicist at IHES. He was born in Roanne, near Loire, on 4 May 1923 and died in Bures-sur-Yvette on 30 December 1999.-Biography:...

) is the simplest possible: the muon decays to an electron, an electron-antineutrino, and a muon-neutrino. Antimuons, in mirror fashion, most often decay to the corresponding antiparticles: a positron
Positron
The positron or antielectron is the antiparticle or the antimatter counterpart of the electron. The positron has an electric charge of +1e, a spin of ½, and has the same mass as an electron...

, an electron-neutrino, and a muon-antineutrino. In formulaic terms, these two decays are:
.

The mean lifetime of the (positive) muon is . The equality of the muon and anti-muon lifetimes has been established to better than one part in 104.

The tree-level muon decay width is

where and is the Fermi coupling constant.

The decay distributions of the electron in muon decays have been parameterised using the so-called Michel parameters. The values of these four parameters are predicted unambiguously in the Standard Model
Standard Model
The Standard Model of particle physics is a theory concerning the electromagnetic, weak, and strong nuclear interactions, which mediate the dynamics of the known subatomic particles. Developed throughout the mid to late 20th century, the current formulation was finalized in the mid 1970s upon...

 of particle physics
Particle physics
Particle physics is a branch of physics that studies the existence and interactions of particles that are the constituents of what is usually referred to as matter or radiation. In current understanding, particles are excitations of quantum fields and interact following their dynamics...

, thus muon decays represent a good test of the space-time structure of the weak interaction
Weak interaction
Weak interaction , is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, alongside the strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. It is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles and initiates the process known as hydrogen fusion in stars...

. No deviation from the Standard Model predictions has yet been found.

Certain neutrino-less decay modes are kinematically allowed but forbidden in the Standard Model. Examples forbidden by lepton flavour conservation are:


and
.

Observation of such decay modes would constitute clear evidence for theories beyond the Standard Model
Beyond the Standard Model
Physics beyond the Standard Model refers to the theoretical developments needed to explain the deficiencies of the Standard Model, such as the origin of mass, the strong CP problem, neutrino oscillations, matter–antimatter asymmetry, and the nature of dark matter and dark energy...

. Upper limits for the branching fractions of such decay modes were measured in many experiments starting more than 50 years ago. The current upper limit for the branching fraction was measured 2011 in the MEG experiment and is 2.4 x 10−12 .

Muonic atoms


The muon was the first elementary particle
Elementary particle
In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle not known to have substructure; that is, it is not known to be made up of smaller particles. If an elementary particle truly has no substructure, then it is one of the basic building blocks of the universe from which...

 discovered that does not appear in ordinary atom
Atom
The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons...

s. Negative muons can, however, form muonic atoms (also called mu-mesic atom
Exotic atom
An exotic atom is an otherwise normal atom in which one or more sub-atomic particles have been replaced by other particles of the same charge. For example, electrons may be replaced by other negatively charged particles such as muons or pions...

s), by replacing an electron in ordinary atoms. Muonic hydrogen atoms are much smaller than typical hydrogen atoms because the much larger mass of the muon gives it a much smaller ground-state
Ground state
The ground state of a quantum mechanical system is its lowest-energy state; the energy of the ground state is known as the zero-point energy of the system. An excited state is any state with energy greater than the ground state...

 wavefunction
Wavefunction
Not to be confused with the related concept of the Wave equationA wave function or wavefunction is a probability amplitude in quantum mechanics describing the quantum state of a particle and how it behaves. Typically, its values are complex numbers and, for a single particle, it is a function of...

 than is observed for the electron. In multi-electron atoms, when only one of the electrons is replaced by a muon, the size of the atom continues to be determined by the other electrons, and the atomic size is nearly unchanged. However, in such cases the orbital of the muon continues to be smaller and far closer to the nucleus than the atomic orbital
Atomic orbital
An atomic orbital is a mathematical function that describes the wave-like behavior of either one electron or a pair of electrons in an atom. This function can be used to calculate the probability of finding any electron of an atom in any specific region around the atom's nucleus...

s of the electrons.

A positive muon, when stopped in ordinary matter, can also bind an electron and form an exotic atom known as muonium
Muonium
Muonium is an exotic atom made up of an antimuon and an electron, which was discovered in 1960 and is given the chemical symbol . During the muon's lifetime, muonium can enter into compounds such as muonium chloride or sodium muonide . Due to the mass difference between the antimuon and the...

 (Mu) atom, in which the muon acts as the nucleus. The positive muon, in this context, can be considered a pseudo-isotope of hydrogen with one ninth of the mass of the proton. Because the reduced mass
Reduced mass
Reduced mass is the "effective" inertial mass appearing in the two-body problem of Newtonian mechanics. This is a quantity with the unit of mass, which allows the two-body problem to be solved as if it were a one-body problem. Note however that the mass determining the gravitational force is not...

 of muonium, and hence its Bohr radius
Bohr radius
The Bohr radius is a physical constant, approximately equal to the most probable distance between the proton and electron in a hydrogen atom in its ground state. It is named after Niels Bohr, due to its role in the Bohr model of an atom...

, is very close to that of hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

, this short-lived "atom" behaves chemically — to a first approximation — like hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

, deuterium
Deuterium
Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is one of two stable isotopes of hydrogen. It has a natural abundance in Earth's oceans of about one atom in of hydrogen . Deuterium accounts for approximately 0.0156% of all naturally occurring hydrogen in Earth's oceans, while the most common isotope ...

  and tritium
Tritium
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. The nucleus of tritium contains one proton and two neutrons, whereas the nucleus of protium contains one proton and no neutrons...

.

Use in measurement of the proton charge radius


The recent culmination of a twelve year experiment investigating the proton's charge radius involved the use of muonic hydrogen. This form of hydrogen is composed of a muon orbiting a proton. The Lamb shift in muonic hydrogen was measured by driving the muon from its 2s state up to an excited 2p state using a laser. The frequency of the photon required to induce this transition was revealed to be 50 terahertz which, according to present theories of quantum electrodynamics
Quantum electrodynamics
Quantum electrodynamics is the relativistic quantum field theory of electrodynamics. In essence, it describes how light and matter interact and is the first theory where full agreement between quantum mechanics and special relativity is achieved...

, yields a value of 0.84184 ± 0.00067 femtometres for the charge radius of the proton.

Anomalous magnetic dipole moment


The anomalous magnetic dipole moment
Anomalous magnetic dipole moment
In quantum electrodynamics, the anomalous magnetic moment of a particle is a contribution of effects of quantum mechanics, expressed by Feynman diagrams with loops, to the magnetic moment of that particle...

 is the difference between the experimentally observed value of the magnetic dipole moment and the theoretical value predicted by the Dirac equation
Dirac equation
The Dirac equation is a relativistic quantum mechanical wave equation formulated by British physicist Paul Dirac in 1928. It provided a description of elementary spin-½ particles, such as electrons, consistent with both the principles of quantum mechanics and the theory of special relativity, and...

. The measurement and prediction of this value is very important in the precision tests of QED
Precision tests of QED
Quantum electrodynamics , a relativistic quantum field theory of electrodynamics, is among the most stringently tested theories in physics....

 (quantum electrodynamics
Quantum electrodynamics
Quantum electrodynamics is the relativistic quantum field theory of electrodynamics. In essence, it describes how light and matter interact and is the first theory where full agreement between quantum mechanics and special relativity is achieved...

). The E821 experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory , is a United States national laboratory located in Upton, New York on Long Island, and was formally established in 1947 at the site of Camp Upton, a former U.S. Army base...

 (BNL) studied the precession of muon and anti-muon in a constant external magnetic field as they circulated in a confining storage ring. The E821 Experiment reported the following average value (from the July 2007 review by Particle Data Group)


where the first errors are statistical and the second systematic.

The difference between the g-factors of the muon and the electron is due to their difference in mass. Because of the muon's larger mass, contributions to the theoretical calculation of its anomalous magnetic dipole moment from Standard Model
Standard Model
The Standard Model of particle physics is a theory concerning the electromagnetic, weak, and strong nuclear interactions, which mediate the dynamics of the known subatomic particles. Developed throughout the mid to late 20th century, the current formulation was finalized in the mid 1970s upon...

 weak interaction
Weak interaction
Weak interaction , is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, alongside the strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. It is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles and initiates the process known as hydrogen fusion in stars...

s and from contributions involving hadron
Hadron
In particle physics, a hadron is a composite particle made of quarks held together by the strong force...

s are important at the current level of precision, whereas these effects are not important for the electron. The muon's anomalous magnetic dipole moment is also sensitive to contributions from new physics beyond the Standard Model
Beyond the Standard Model
Physics beyond the Standard Model refers to the theoretical developments needed to explain the deficiencies of the Standard Model, such as the origin of mass, the strong CP problem, neutrino oscillations, matter–antimatter asymmetry, and the nature of dark matter and dark energy...

, such as supersymmetry
Supersymmetry
In particle physics, supersymmetry is a symmetry that relates elementary particles of one spin to other particles that differ by half a unit of spin and are known as superpartners...

. For this reason, the muon's anomalous magnetic moment is normally used as a probe for new physics beyond the Standard Model rather than as a test of QED.

See also

  • Mumesic atom
  • Muonium
    Muonium
    Muonium is an exotic atom made up of an antimuon and an electron, which was discovered in 1960 and is given the chemical symbol . During the muon's lifetime, muonium can enter into compounds such as muonium chloride or sodium muonide . Due to the mass difference between the antimuon and the...

  • Muon spin spectroscopy
    Muon spin spectroscopy
    Muon spin spectroscopy is an experimental technique based on the implantation of spin-polarized muons in matter and on the detection of the influence of the atomic, molecular or crystalline surroundings on their spin motion...

  • Muon-catalyzed fusion
    Muon-catalyzed fusion
    Muon-catalyzed fusion is a process allowing nuclear fusion to take place at temperatures significantly lower than the temperatures required for thermonuclear fusion, even at room temperature or lower...

  • List of particles
  • Tauonium
    Tauonium
    Tauonium is an exotic atom consisting in either a tauon and antitauon or antitauon and an electron. The true tauonium is difficult to detect. Its detection is important for quantum electrodynamics....


External links