Scientists working on the Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA) at Cern's particle physics laboratory had very exciting quarter hour recently. The team conjured and contained atoms of antihydrogen for a full 1,000 seconds--that's nearly 17 minutes and 10,000 times longer than they were previously able to keep antimatter around before it disappeared in burst of particle-on-particle annihilations.
Antihydrogen is the antiparticle to hydrogen (but you might have guessed that), and is of interest to researchers because, basically, we don't know a whole lot about antihydrogen specifically and antimatter generally. That's because it's notoriously difficult to study. Put antihydrogen and hydrogen in contact and you end up with nothing. The two will annihilate each other, essentially canceling each other out.
To keep antimatter and matter separate, the ALPHA team has been experimenting with magnetic antimatter traps that allow them to keep a cloud of anti-particles in existence for very short periods of time. The team had to open their trap after just 170 milliseconds during experiments last year, a period long enough to verify that it had actually created antimatter but not long enough to actually study it.
This time, it kept its antihydrogen cloud intact for more than 16 minutes by lowering the temperature of the antiprotons used to create the hydrogen much further, which lowered the overall energy inside their magnetic jar. The breakthrough should allow researchers to actually experiment on antihydrogen in coming years, helping them to answer some fundamental questions.
For instance, it's unknown whether gravity affects antimatter in the same way as it affects normal matter. That is, scientists don't even know if antimatter falls up or falls down. Having containers of the stuff to observe will naturally help scientists probe these unknowns.
Perfect! For sure something useful will come out of these experiments/observations.
This is an epic achievement. But the title of the story is misleading. I wanted to "Watch" the containment of anti-matter. Lets get some footage up. I want to see anti-matter. But now that I think of it, wouldn't light destroy anti-matter? It is a particle after all... I have little knowledge on such matters... Or is it Anti-matters...
@Turbo Two Tone: Photons are particles in a similar sense to electrons, but they are still not considered matter. So I don't think they would generate an annihilation reaction the same way matter/antimatter combinations do.
It's interesting that we don't even know if gravity affects antimatter as it does matter. Why wouldn't it? I don't know much about antimatter, but I remember hearing in my physics class that "antimatter is indistinguishable from regular matter traveling backwards through time." Everyone in my class was brainfucked, and I still don't understand that enough to know if it was some kind of model or an actual observation. Either way, couldn't we extrapolate from there and determine the effects of gravity on antimatter?
-IMP ;) :)
@Turbo Two Tone Anti-matter will annihilate matter, but photons are particles of energy, not matter, and so won't annihilate :)
@IceMetalPunk That's the currently accepted theory of antimatter, and by extrapolating that we do have a system in which gravity should affect both matter and antimatter exactly the same way, but it's still just a theory, and hasn't been proven. That's the whole point of what they're saying; we THINK that gravity will pull it down, but we should check and see, just in case it does something different :)
Yet another step closer to positronic brains!! YAY!!!
Now if they can just create anti-carbon(or anti of greenhouse gasses) and solve global warming.... (though I could see if its not that simple)
I still think the Pons and Fleischmanns cold fusion was a result of matter-antimatter collisions which would produce heat without radioactivity or with neutrons which is what was finally determined that happened with their experiments (scientists said no radioactive by products mean not cold fusion).
I still suspect they accidentally found a way in their particular experiment to generate heat from the matter anti matter particles that were being 'pulled' to the cathode or anode. But then what do I know haha.
the physicist may say that when matter and anti-matter come in tact with each other that they cancel each other out. But, my theory is they really teleport/warp each other to completely different places. This is just a theory, and there is no evidence to back it up. It would be kool if that were true though.
1. they don't "cancel each other out", GetRevenge32... they convert into pure energy...E=mc2 expressed exactly. mostly in gamma radiation...no "boom"...just a large flash and lethal radiation and MAXIMUM energy conversion.
2. if gravity didn't affect them in the normal way...wouldn't the universe be filled with the shit(?)...since the particles would be either repelled or not affected by all other normal matter? that's an absurd concept - i cant prove it, but i'm pretty damned sure gravity plays an identical role with antimatter particles.
3. Anti-carbon? You realize that all life here & most likely elsewhere in the universe is carbon-based?(due to it's having more facets for interaction than any other atom). Carbon is a wonderful thing...not a bad one.
4. Light would certainly NOT destroy anti-matter...or how could it ever exist in the first place?? the universe is flooded with light.
Dumb Question: what happens if an anti-hydrogen atom collides with a normal NON-hydrogen atom...say, Iron or whatever??? Can they co-exist in contact??
@DrSebby "what happens if an anti-hydrogen atom collides with a normal NON-hydrogen atom...say, Iron or whatever???"
Its not matched on a atomic scale but on next level down
One proton f.cks up an anti proton (Or even lower, quarks ??)
Elektron vs. positron = gamma ray burst
So you cant hold a kilo of Nori (anti Iron) in your hand,
it wont end god for you or the country you are in.
"It's interesting that we don't even know if gravity affects antimatter as it does matter. Why wouldn't it? I don't know much about antimatter, but I remember hearing in my physics class that "antimatter is indistinguishable from regular matter traveling backwards through time." Everyone in my class was brainfucked, and I still don't understand that enough to know if it was some kind of model or an actual observation. Either way, couldn't we extrapolate from there and determine the effects of gravity on antimatter?"
Antimatter is oppositely charged matter. For example, an antimatter 'electron' is positively charged (called a positron) and an antimatter 'protons' are negatively charged (called an antiproton). As far as being indistinguishable from matter travelling backward in time, that doesn't make sense. Reversing time wouldn't reverse the charge on a particle.
Oh my! I think everyone is missing the point completely! Now we have a better trap to collect ghost. I see coming soon at a theater new you: “Ghost Busters 3,4 and etc ". Oh yea, bring back the Ghost Busters! Woo Hoo!
@bravadomizzou We're all carbon-based lifeforms. You'd kill us all. However, yes, you'd probably solve the carbon issue in global warming, but there would be nothing here to celebrate your success.
10 bucks says Big Brother is already trying to weaponize it ;) Can we say... antimatter bombs? Antimatter cannons? ;)
OK, two of you have acknowledged "Global Warming", and I just have to say that it is the beginning of may and we had a high of 49 degrees here in Texas. not to mention the freak snow storms earlier this year.
A period of warmth is followed by a period of cold, trying to fix the warm period would simply swing us very far into that cold period.
If someone comments an opposing opinion about this article and they are very blunt, would that make them, ' anti-matter of fact? ' I’m just curious.
Of course they want to weaponise antimatter. It would be orders of magnitude easier than developing any other use for it. Just like fusion has been weaponised for 50 years, but are still working on other uses.
I agree. Why would changing a charge alter how gravity affects it. And the backwards through time thing doesn't make sense. If it worked backwards through time, the effect of an opposite charged particle nearby would be repulsion not attraction, so annihilation wouldn't happen.
has anybody else noticed the direct connection to "Angels and Demons"? just wanted to point that out.
@ Joeyjam and DrSebby
Anti-matter will annihilate matter, but photons are particles of energy, not matter, and so won't annihilate :)
Light would certainly NOT destroy anti-matter...or how could it ever exist in the first place?? the universe is flooded with light.
It's been proven lately that photons can effect matter, so why not antimatter? If light did destroy antimatter, it would be the simplest explaination for it's lack in the universe. If you consider the standard model and origin theory, during the end of inflation around 10 to the negative 34th power seconds, matter and antimatter were annihilated in massive quantities. If photons of could cause antimatter destruction, it would explain the how matter won out as the winner in our universe.
I think. Haha
So to my previous comment, shine some light on those suckers =P
The electromagnetic forces are so many orders of magnitude greater than gravity on these scales that the gravitational effects are negligible. I would think that a significant amount of antimatter held at a significant distance from normal matter would be required to observe any gravitational effects. We are still a long, long way away from that.
My question around the subject would be, "If gravity is an interaction between space/time and mass, and as long as antimatter does not have a property of "antimass" why would it affect space/time any differently"? Antimatter does in fact have normal mass, it has been experimentally verified that a particle and it's antiparticle have the same mass. Besides, E=mc2 would be zero otherwise.
If you want to understand the concept of particles traveling backward in time, it is best illustrated in Feynman diagrams. For the BEST "layman" lectures ever, Google "Richard Feynman Video - The Douglas Robb Memorial Lectures". If you don't get it then, you never will.
Can they deploy an anti-donaldtrump? Just asking.
New to this site...You guys are hilarious! Ghost Busters references and puns galore! Isn't is reasonable that it it's just a question of time that they accidently touch matter to anti-matter or intentionally? I'm telling you, CERN with be the death of us all!
Charles Jordan - This antimatter trap is fantastic. I am a particle physicist and it has always been my guess that antimatter repulsion of matter caused the extremely rapid expansion of matter in the big bang. Our rules of matter and antimatter say that there should be exactly the same amounts of each. We don't see that. A repulsive force would perhaps separate the two types. Perhaps we are accidentally in one cloud and antipeople are in the other. They think that we are antimatter.
Antimatter interacts with light(photons) just through the particle's charge. The charge of matter is just the opposite of the charge of antimatter. The physics of that is clear. But we haven't been able hold antimatter away from matter long enough to see whether gravity is different for the two types until now. That's why this antimatter trap is so exciting. Most theorists don't want a different gravity for antimatter, but reality rules and experimental physicists like me live on measurements.
@hklint I'm now intrigued by the concept of anti-elements!
For example, the nori of which you speak would have a key role in the meah of the sllec doolb der that the illusive namuh species uses to capture the negyxo. All Nobrac based too - think about that for a minute.
I'm off to cool down now.
WARP SPEED! (seriously? no one said this yet? WTH?)
Hurrah! I just hope we can get something good out of this...
heres a crazy idea it may seem stupid probly is but i will say it.Has anybody thought of antiwater -(H2O) or antifire which breaks down antiwood with antioxygen to make *sudden thought* would it make antiLIGHT!? or antiheat!? whould these have revese properties so that fire would be pure black and icecold I WONDER WHAT ANTIWATER WOULD BE LIKE!
Looks like a ZPM. From stargate
bravadomizzou stated 05/03/11 at 9:11 pm
"Now if they can just create anti-carbon(or anti of greenhouse gasses) and solve global warming.... (though I could see if its not that simple)"
I say if they can go there, then why not anti-U238 239 etc...
and clean up this Japan mess?
It would seem to reason if you can create one type of anti atom that you could create any of them? If so then why not create all the ones that are causing problems from Fukashima and turn them loose?
Not a physicist, just curious?