Cern says it has produced and trapped antimatter atoms (video)

Antimatter trapped and stored - Photo Cern

Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – One of the universe’s open questions may be a step closer to being answered thanks to over 30 atoms of antihydrogen that have been trapped and stored by scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Cern.

This opens the path to new ways of making detailed measurements of antihydrogen, Cern notes in a written statement 18 November. It will allow scientists to compare matter and antimatter, the latter being what annihilates ordinary matter in a single explosive flash of energy.

The finding is related to the re-creation of the mini Big Bang at Cern in early November.

“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,” says Cern. Investigating a “tiny difference in the properties of matter and antimatter could point towards an explanation of what happened.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that University of Berkeley scientists that participated in the project were able to conceive and design the magnetic trap that successfully kept atoms of antimatter from destroying themselves the instant they hit the ordinary matter of the containers where they were made.

The Cern experiment shows that it is possible to hold on to atoms of antihydrogen for about a tenth of a second, or long enough to study them using the Berkeley method. Of the many thousands of antiatoms the experiment created, 38 were trapped long enough to study.

The first nine atoms of man-made antihydrogen were produced at Cern in 1995.

Cern-produced video on what antimatter is and how the experiment worked

Comments

  1. Beetham Gary says:

    How do you measure the physical properties of the particles?

  2. Here’s how the people at Cern say it is done: “Detector: A device used to measure properties of particles. Some detectors measure the tracks left behind by particles, others measure energy. The term ‘detector’ is also used to describe the huge composite devices made up of many smaller detector elements. In the large detectors at the LHC each layer has a very specific task.” They provide a handy glossary for non-specialists.

  3. fteo says:

    Knowing a lot about anti-matter is not going to give mankind much benefit. We have not developed any machine or containment device that can create it in sufficient quantities or store them for a long time. So what has muons and quarks done for human-kind to date besides knowing that these particles existed and we can detect them ?. Focus on dark-matter through their telescopes might be even more productive, at least there is a better chance of scooping up dark-matter using our primitive spacecrafts.