Electric dipole moments (EDMs) have interested physicists since 1950, when it was first suggested that there was no experimental evidence that nuclear forces are symmetric under parity (P) transformation. This question was regarded as speculative because the existence of an EDM, in addition to P violation, requires a violation of time-reversal (T) symmetry. In 1964 it was discovered that the invariance under CP transformation, which combines charge conjugation (C) with parity, is violated in K-meson decays. This provided a new incentive for EDM searches. Since the combined operations of CPT are expected to leave a system invariant, breakdown of CP invariance should be accompanied by a violation of time-reversal symmetry. Thus there is a reason to expect that EDMs should exist at some level. The original neutron EDM experiments were later supplemented with checks of T invariance in atoms and molecules. These investigations are pursued now by many groups. Over the years, the upper limit on the neutron EDM has been improved by seven orders of magnitude, and the upper limit on the electron EDM obtained in atomic experiments is even more strict.
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The possibility of the existence of permanent electric dipole moments (EDMs), which would be evidence of a breakdown of time-reversal symmetry, has been of interest to physicists for neary half a century. This question gained renewed interest with the discovery in 1964 of CP violation in the decay of the K0 meson. Experimental searches for EDMs have severely constrained the possible theories that describe the CP-violation.
The fundamental physical theories put forward to describe the K0 system are described, and application to the calculation of EDMs of the electron, the neutron, atoms, and molecules is thoroughly reviewed. The theoretical description is embellished by a comprehensive review of the experimental seraches for EDMs, along with an overview of likely future experimental trends.
The book represents the first complete and simultaneous description of both theoretical and experimental techniques related to the issues of EDMs. It is intended for advanced graduate students who want a solid introduction to the theoretical and experimental issues, and for workers in the field who want a comprehensive review and overview of current work.
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