The magnet in the electron

Gerald Gabrielse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Graduate students at the Harvard University in the US have developed new methods and apparatus with which to measure the intrinsic magnetism or magnetic moment of the electron. The new measurement method is important for testing quantum electrodynamics (QED) that describes the way light and matter interact through the electromagnetic force. The electron must be bound weakly enough so that its magnetism is not significantly altered by the artificial atom, so that accurate magnetism of the electron can be measured. A technique called quantum-jump spectroscopy is also used to measure the cyclotron frequency. The precise measurement of the electron's magnetism is to determine the fine-structure constant. Confining a single electron within a home-made atom and probing the quantum structure of this artificial atom has allowed to measure the electron's intrinsic magnetism to an accurate level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages5
Specialist publicationPhysics World
StatePublished - Feb 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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