We consider proton decay in theories that contain large extra dimensions. If virtual black hole states are allowed by the theory, as is generally the case, then proton decay can proceed via virtual black holes. The experimental limits on the proton lifetime place strong constraints on the quantum gravity scale $\mnew$ (the effective Planck mass). For most theories, our constraint implies a lower bound of $\mnew > 10^{16}$ GeV. The corresponding bound on the size of large extra dimensions is $\ell < 10^{6/n} \times 10^{-30}$ cm, where $n$ is the number of such dimensions. Regrettably, for most theories this limit rules out the possibility of observing large extra dimensions at accelerators or in millimeter scale gravity experiments. Conversely, proton decay could be dominated by virtual black holes, providing an experimental probe to study stringy quantum gravity physics. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas.)

Publication Date



Also archived at: arXiv:hep-ph/0009154 v2 1 Mar 2001 Thisresearch was supported by a Department of Energy grant and by the Physics Department at the University of Michigan.ISSN:0217-751X Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


RIT – Main Campus