Skip to comments.Antimatter atom trapped for first time, say scientists
Posted on 11/17/2010 2:08:43 PM PST by NormsRevenge
Antimatter atoms have been trapped for the first time, scientists say.
Researchers at Cern, home of the Large Hadron Collider, have held 38 antihydrogen atoms in place, each for a fraction of a second.
Antihydrogen has been produced before but it was instantly destroyed when it encountered normal matter.
The team, reporting in Nature, says the ability to study such antimatter atoms will allow previously impossible tests of fundamental tenets of physics.
The current "standard model" of physics holds that each particle - protons, electrons, neutrons and a zoo of more exotic particles - has its mirror image antiparticle.
The antiparticle of the electron, for example, is the positron, and is used in an imaging technique of growing popularity known as positron emission tomography.
However, one of the great mysteries in physics is why our world is made up overwhelmingly of matter, rather than antimatter; the laws of physics make no distinction between the two and equal amounts should have been created at the Universe's birth.
Producing antimatter particles like positrons and antiprotons has become commonplace in the laboratory, but assembling the particles into antimatter atoms is far more tricky.
That was first accomplished by two groups in 2002. But handling the "antihydrogen" - bound atoms made up of an antiproton and a positron - is trickier still because it must not come into contact with anything else.
While trapping of charged normal atoms can be done with electric or magnetic fields, trapping antihydrogen atoms in this "hands-off" way requires a very particular type of field.
"Atoms are neutral - they have no net charge - but they have a little magnetic character," explained Jeff Hangst of Aarhus University in Denmark, one of the collaborators on the Alpha antihydrogen trapping project.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
GreenPeace, The ACLU and CAIR immediately called for a release of the atom and halt to any further trapping of poor innocent antimatter atoms.
I've watched Star Trek enough to know what happens when matter and anti-matter collide. :)
On the other-hand someone may be watching too much Star Trek..
You're probably wondering what exactly an antimatter atom looks like and how it behaves.
Me too. :-}
Where to they get the antimatter? Do they make it?
There is some chance that the CERN experiments could lead to the end of the world, and perhaps the end of the universe.
It is a infinitesimal chance, but it is a chance.
My guess, somewhere between one in a million and one in a billion billion.
Yeah. They cut to commercial.
“Antimatter atoms have been trapped for the first time, scientists say. “
LET IT GO! It was born free and should live free!
Nah, you're way off. It's more like somewhere between one in a thousand billion and one in a trillion billion thousand... give or take a few.
I certainly don’t want to experience a warp core breach!
She kenna take any more Keptain! She’s ginna blow!
"Annihilation Jim. Total, complete, absolute annihilation."
The biggest problem with things that can happen is if you keep trying eventually they will happen.
Point well taken.
Its a good thing those Europeans have wasted billions of dollars so they could trap 38 sub-atomic particles for a fraction of a second. We wouldn’t want them to waste that money trying to improve the economies of Portugal, Spain, or Ireland, or anything like that. And you know, for just a few dozen billion dollars more those godless scientists will start to come up with an idea how to actually make something useful with their big fancy expensive plaything.
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