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Author Topic: Particle Accelerator finally Captures Antimatter  (Read 1085 times)

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Offline AlsheriamTopic starter

Particle Accelerator finally Captures Antimatter
« on: November 19, 2010, 07:00:06 PM »
(Swedish and horribly written)
Additional source that doesn't seem to be written by a 10 year old:
Taken from:
(English and properly written)

It looks like scientists have managed to create antimatter.

Geneva, 17 November 2011. The ALPHA experiment at CERN1 has taken an important step forward in developing techniques to understand one of the Universe’s open questions: is there a difference between matter and antimatter? In a paper published in Nature today, the collaboration shows that it has successfully produced and trapped atoms of antihydrogen. This development opens the path to new ways of making detailed measurements of antihydrogen, which will in turn allow scientists to compare matter and antimatter.

Antimatter – or the lack of it – remains one of the biggest mysteries of science. Matter and its counterpart are identical except for opposite charge, and they annihilate when they meet. At the Big Bang, matter and antimatter should have been produced in equal amounts. However, we know that our world is made up of matter: antimatter seems to have disappeared. To find out what has happened to it, scientists employ a range of methods to investigate whether a tiny difference in the properties of matter and antimatter could point towards an explanation.

One of these methods is to take one of the best-known systems in physics, the hydrogen atom, which is made of one proton and one electron, and check whether its antimatter counterpart, antihydrogen, consisting of an antiproton and a positron, behaves in the same way. CERN is the only laboratory in the world with a dedicated low-energy antiproton facility where this research can be carried out.

The antihydrogen programme goes back a long way. In 1995, the first nine atoms of man-made antihydrogen were produced at CERN. Then, in 2002, the ATHENA and ATRAP experiments showed that it was possible to produce antihydrogen in large quantities, opening up the possibility of conducting detailed studies. The new result from ALPHA is the latest step in this journey.

Antihydrogen atoms are produced in a vacuum at CERN, but are nevertheless surrounded by normal matter. Because matter and antimatter annihilate when they meet, the antihydrogen atoms have a very short life expectancy. This can be extended, however, by using strong and complex magnetic fields to trap them and thus prevent them from coming into contact with matter. The ALPHA experiment has shown that it is possible to hold on to atoms of antihydrogen in this way for about a tenth of a second: easily long enough to study them. Of the many thousands of antiatoms the experiment has created, ALPHA’s latest paper reports that 38 have been trapped for long enough to study.

“For reasons that no one yet understands, nature ruled out antimatter. It is thus very rewarding, and a bit overwhelming, to look at the ALPHA device and know that it contains stable, neutral atoms of antimatter,” said Jeffrey Hangst of Aarhus University, Denmark, spokesman of the ALPHA collaboration. “This inspires us to work that much harder to see if antimatter holds some secret.”

In another recent development in CERN’s antimatter programme, the ASACUSA experiment has demonstrated a new technique for producing antihydrogen atoms. In a paper soon to appear in Physical Review Letters, the collaboration reports success in producing antihydrogen in a so-called Cusp trap, an essential precursor to making a beam. ASACUSA plans to develop this technique to the point at which beams of sufficient intensity will survive for long enough to be studied.

“With two alternative methods of producing and eventually studying antihydrogen, antimatter will not be able to hide its properties from us much longer,” said Yasunori Yamazaki of Japan’s RIKEN research centre and a member of the ASACUSA collaboration. “There’s still some way to go, but we’re very happy to see how well this technique works.”

“These are significant steps in antimatter research,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer, “and an important part of the very broad research programme at CERN.”

- It was very successful. We caught anti-matter in an atom trap, "said Svante Jonsell, Associate Professor of Physics, who participated in the experiment at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland.
Magnificent research

Antimatter is among the most magnificent and mysterious that science is working on.
According to the Big Bang theory there existed as much antimatter as ordinary matter when the universe was formed. But no one has ever seen this mysterious antimatter in space.

- There is no explanation for it. According to the Big Bang theory, all matter and antimatter have destroyed each other in the end, but it's obviously not, "said Svante Jonsell.

Antimatter is also a popular subject in science fiction. In Dan Brown's bestseller "Angels and Demons' successful scientists at CERN just capture antimatter in a capsule - that form a powerful bomb.
No bomb on the road

But no anti-matter bomb could never be built, according Jonsell.

- Fortunately, you can not create such quantities of antimatter. You can not stick to it. There are better ways to make bombs.

In the latest experiment, researchers created a total of 38 anti-atoms. They were kept alive for a fifth of a second with the help of a strong magnetic field of the atom trap.

- It's a long time when compared with the micro of a second that it normally takes before they are destroyed, "said Svante Jonsell.

Researchers will now study the data from the experiment to see what differences there are between antimatter and ordinary matter.

What can you use anti-matter for?

- Not much. This is basic and involves very fundamental issues as why we have a universe with only matter, says Jonsell.

Offline Sabby

Re: Particle Accelerator finally Captures Antimatter
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 10:25:05 PM »
I'm kind of stupid when it comes to things like this... what exactly is the point of this experiment?

Offline AlsheriamTopic starter

Re: Particle Accelerator finally Captures Antimatter
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2010, 04:39:20 AM »
I'm kind of stupid when it comes to things like this... what exactly is the point of this experiment?

Things like this may seem inconsequential. But discoveries in physics like this tend to have long-running implications. Semiconductors (which translates into our modern computers, iPods, iPhones and such stuff) could not be made possible without such discoveries. As clichéd as it may sound, the possibilities are endless.

Offline Jeramiahh

Re: Particle Accelerator finally Captures Antimatter
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2010, 10:10:42 PM »
That's the thing; we don't know what this may make possible. It might give us insights into the fundamental construction of the universe, which could lead to advances in computing power, or it could reveal secrets of matter and energy, and lead to new energy sources. Imagine if we could, say, find a way to convert matter directly into energy and harvest it? Unlikely, sure... but that's the reason we experiment. We don't know what'll come out of it.

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Re: Particle Accelerator finally Captures Antimatter
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2010, 09:17:50 AM »
Given human nature, I'm betting on matter/antimatter bombs to start with  ;)

Offline AlsheriamTopic starter

Re: Particle Accelerator finally Captures Antimatter
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2010, 09:39:15 AM »
Yeah. Antimatter beams. Pew pew.

Offline Synthea

Re: Particle Accelerator finally Captures Antimatter
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2010, 07:16:58 PM »
I luuuuv stuff like this.  Don't understand a speck of the science since my mind is not attuned to this realm, but I look at the evidence produced by Science as confirmation of some of my own speculative ramblings.  I wonder what our quantum theorists have been tossing about as a result of this publicized information?


Offline Wolfy

Re: Particle Accelerator finally Captures Antimatter
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2010, 09:55:31 AM »
O-o...isn't it known or at least theorized that if one milimeter sized chunk of Antimatter strikes a piece of matter, the resulting explosion will be like, 3 nuclear bombs? O_o

Offline Oniya

Re: Particle Accelerator finally Captures Antimatter
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2010, 10:29:57 AM »
And if you'll notice, the amount they've been able to create is in the 'under 50 atoms' range.  The calculated atomic radius of hydrogen is about 53 picometers (a picometer is 1×10−12 m)  That works out to 0.000000053 mm (single atom), or 0.00000265 mm (50 atoms, strung in a line)  And that's linear measurement, not a 'chunk'

That's quite a fair piece away from even one hydrogen bomb.