Antimatter is a very fickle medium; infinitely interesting to study, it tends to disappear in a burst of gamma rays when it comes into contact with absolutely anything (anything that's considered ordinary matter, anyhow). That property makes it difficult to get a good look at antimatter, so a team of researchers at the UC San Diego is building the world's largest antimatter container.
Antimatter is basically the finicky opposite of regular matter (it occurs briefly on Earth within lightning storms) and for the aforementioned reasons, researchers can't just bottle antimatter in any old container. Physics Professor Clifford Surko's team plans to corral antimatter using new methods that create specialized states of antimatter in large clouds--more than a trillion particles at one time--and contain them in "multicell traps" capable of compressing them and focusing them into small beams.
The specific antimatter particles Surko's team aims to contain are "positrons," the antimatter opposite to the electron. Using finely tuned magnetic and electric fields, his research team aims to gather and slow positrons from radioactive sources, storing them for days rather than the usual billionth of a second that they last when introduced to ordinary matter. From there, the team has developed methods for cooling the positrons to temperatures as low as that of liquid helium, compressing them and forming them in to thin streams that can be employed in a variety of ways.
What can you use a thin stream of positrons for? Mostly for studying positrons, but that's actually pretty exciting. Such a positron trap would enable scientists to study things like electron-positron plasmas believed to exist within neutron stars and antihydrogen, the antimatter opposite of hydrogen.
There are more practical applications as well. PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans are used regularly in laboratory settings to study metabolic processes and in drug discovery, and while it doesn't rely on these new methods Surko's team could find ways to improve current medical techniques. The team also hopes to eventually develop portable antimatter traps, making it possible to pack anti-stuff anywhere.
Still waiting for matter / anti-mater propulsion system for interstellar travel.
If gravity is created by matter (or things of matter), would there be an opposite force with antimatter. And I agree with Thedicktator that it really could be the key to propulsion, using it to alter gravitational fields for "propulsion" all controlled by gravity like forces. I'm sure that is what aliens use,why else could they move so fast and not have to deal with of G forces that come due to gravity. OH and we could finally build anti-gravity chambers to play in... mmm boy!
antimatter has the same effect on gravity as normal matter. Or at least that is the current theory. All that is different is that the electron is positive and the proton is negative.
Now negative matter might behave opposite to gravity if we can ever figure out how to make it. (Some how condensing large amounts of negative energy which we can make (in small amounts)
It terms of propulsion, i might be slightly off but I beleive a matter/antimatter reaction is 99% efficient.....But you still have to get the antimatter in the first place. To produce one gram of antimatter, enough to power a ship to a fraction of the speed of light, would cost three times the entire worlds economy.
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@taysoren gravity is the worpping of space-time by something that has mass. Aliens would controll gravitons.
Now all we need are the PKE meters and the portable positron colliders and we ll be ready to hunt us some ghosts!
wow! beams of anti matter. this is sounding WAY too much like... the beginnings of a warp drive.
and fellas many aspects of Gravity are still a theroy. it is a law that it exists, but its source is still in debate. (and I dont mean mass = gravity. I mean WHY does mass = gravity)
Do you people who say the dumbest shit have the most fun? If so, I need to change my methods...
as currently understood:
Matter = Positive mass, normal gravity, 'normal' electrical charges
Anti-matter: Still positive mass, so normal gravity, but the quarks have inverted charges. Mutual annihilation with normal matter releases energy. (E=MC^2 still applies, and anti-matter has positive mass, thus positive energy)
Negative Matter (never seen to exist, only a mathematical construct): Negative mass, so presumably reversed gravity, and presumably would come in both 'normal' and 'anti-' varieties. Mutual annihilation with normal (and normal anti-) matter releases zero energy, as +1 plus -1 = 0. 'Normal' and 'anti-' negative matter mutual annihilations would release lots of negative energy.
Dark energy *may* have some relation to negative matter/energy, unknown at this time.
Doesn't I remember reading that, because there is no energy technically needed, matter and antimatter particles pop into existence in a vacuum from time to time. Could you, or someone else who happens to be enlightened on the subject, please explain why this happens?
It is a laser capable of emitting a beam of pure antimatter!
I had to say that...
Yes; the dumber you are, the happier you are. I'm living proof.
@ Lord Elliot: matter-antimatter pairs of "virtual particles" pop out of the background energy fields that quantum mechanics say are fluctuating all around us (think of the weak microwave energy that is everywhere left over from the Big Bang). They are called virtual particles because they really don't have the energy to exist properly (this energy is "borrowed" from the surrounding field by a sort of quantum tunneling effect). Very quickly the particles annihilate, and the energy is dispersed back into the field. It is possible for strong outside the forces to "boost" the virtual particles and make them real.
Thanks for explaining. This has made me slightly less dumb. I will now start thinking up implausible ways to harvest this energy.
anyone else think that thing looks like the ghost traps from ghostbusters?
Does any one reamber when scients were trying to get a photo of anti? Or was that on of my own wierd thoughts? if they were trying could they just wrap their heads around that maybe it is compleaty invisable and only detetably like magnetic force.
HA!!! idea use some thing like iron filling for magnets to see it.