3 years ago

Anomalous phosphine sensitivity coefficients as probes for a possible variation of the proton-to-electron mass ratio.

Sergei N. Yurchenko, Alec Owens, Vladimir Špirko

A robust variational approach is used to investigate the sensitivity of the rotation-vibration spectrum of phosphine (PH$_3$) to a possible cosmological variation of the proton-to-electron mass ratio, $\mu$. Whilst the majority of computed sensitivity coefficients, $T$, involving the low-lying vibrational states acquire the expected values of $T\approx-1$ and $T\approx-1/2$ for rotational and ro-vibrational transitions, respectively, anomalous sensitivities are uncovered for the $A_1\!-\!A_2$ splittings in the $\nu_2/\nu_4$, $\nu_1/\nu_3$ and $2\nu_4^{\ell=0}/2\nu_4^{\ell=2}$ manifolds of PH$_3$. A pronounced Coriolis interaction between these states in conjunction with accidentally degenerate $A_1$ and $A_2$ energy levels produces a series of enhanced sensitivity coefficients. Phosphine is expected to occur in a number of different astrophysical environments and has potential for investigating a drifting constant. Furthermore, the displayed behaviour hints at a wider trend in molecules of ${\bf C}_{3\mathrm{v}}\mathrm{(M)}$ symmetry, thus demonstrating that the splittings induced by higher-order ro-vibrational interactions are well suited for probing $\mu$ in other symmetric top molecules in space, since these low-frequency transitions can be straightforwardly detected by radio telescopes.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1808.05427

DOI: arXiv:1808.05427v1

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