Two physicists (a female and male) working on a lab experiment

ALP Seminar: QSNET, A network of clocks for measuring the stability of fundamental constants

10 Jun 2024
Seminars and colloquia
Simpkins Lee
Beecroft Building

Prof. Gionvani Barontini, University of Birmingham

Seminar series
ALP seminar
Knowledge of physics?
Yes, knowledge of physics required
For more information contact


I will discuss the QSNET project, which is building a network of atomic and molecular clocks in the UK to achieve unprecedented sensitivity in testing variations of the fine structure constant, α, and the electron-to-proton mass ratio, μ. This, in turn, will allow us to either discover that fundamental constants are not constant, or to provide more stringent constraints on a wide range of fundamental and phenomenological ”new physics” models. These include models of dark energy, ultra-light dark matter, and grand unification models. The project currently includes the National Physical Laboratory, the University of Sussex, the Imperial College London, the University of Birmingham, and several international partners. I will discuss more in detail the progress and plans of the Birmingham node, where we are building a clock based on highly charged ions of Californium, that is expected to improve our sensitivity to variations of α by orders of magnitude.