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Antimatter atom trapped for first time

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Antimatter atoms have been trapped for the first time, scientists say.

Researchers at Cern, home of the LHC, have held 38 antihydrogen atoms in place, each for a fraction of a second.

While antihydrogen has been produced before, it is instantly destroyed in a flash of light when it encounters 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.

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Arpee

So does this mean that string theory is correct then?

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questionmark

So does this mean that string theory is correct then?

No, it just means that the existence of antimatter is proven. The string theoreticians will have to demonstrate that it does not only work in a dimension greater than 13. After all, after the fourth it ceases to have a practical applicability.

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sepulchrave

That is a good story! I find it quite interesting.

Hopefully they can make their magnetic traps stable enough that they can confine anti-hydrogen for long enough to do some basic spectroscopy and kinetics experiments...

Even very simple things, like checking whether the Lyman series of anti-hydrogen is the same as regular hydrogen would be useful.

I would especially like to see them get enough anti-matter to be able to accurately measure the gravitational response of that matter, and check to see how it relates to that matter's inertial mass.

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Answer42

No, it just means that the existence of antimatter is proven. The string theoreticians will have to demonstrate that it does not only work in a dimension greater than 13. After all, after the fourth it ceases to have a practical applicability.

Not what the beings from dimension 15 said.

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Automaton

Wow. That can really potentially shake up everything we thought we knew about physics. Interesting.

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UFreak

how will they ever be able to store enough to make a practical use from this?...Awesome research, but if this is "just" another band-aid for cancer patients, its not enough.

Not that cancer treatments aren't prime to research, just that the expense and long-term "hope" might not be the best practice; perhaps another area of discovery is a better option?

As a fuel source, its impractical...so

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Pihkal

how will they ever be able to store enough to make a practical use from this?...Awesome research, but if this is "just" another band-aid for cancer patients, its not enough.

Not that cancer treatments aren't prime to research, just that the expense and long-term "hope" might not be the best practice; perhaps another area of discovery is a better option?

As a fuel source, its impractical...so

Very impractical. Given current technology it would take longer than the age of the universe to produce 1 gram of that material. Still, it's pretty neat.

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Answer42

May as well have caged some unicorns.

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Xpeople

It is a big step then before.

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Wickian

How can anti-matter even be used for anything? From what I understand, if it ever comes into contact with normal matter they blink each other out of existence. The only real way to store it long-term would be in a vacuum.

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sepulchrave

How can anti-matter even be used for anything? From what I understand, if it ever comes into contact with normal matter they blink each other out of existence. The only real way to store it long-term would be in a vacuum.

The only think anti-matter can be used for is energy. When matter and anti-matter touch, as you point out, there is a 100% efficient conversion of matter into energy as they annihilate each other.

Anti-matter is not a very practical source of energy, since it is really inefficient to create it and very difficult to store it.

However, anti-matter is of great use in physics research. Verifying that conventional chemistry, kinetics, quantum dynamics, etc. occur the same way in anti-matter complexes as in regular matter complexes is important, and understanding the nature of matter/anti-matter asymmetry is very important in cosmology and particle physics.

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Wickian

The only think anti-matter can be used for is energy. When matter and anti-matter touch, as you point out, there is a 100% efficient conversion of matter into energy as they annihilate each other.

Anti-matter is not a very practical source of energy, since it is really inefficient to create it and very difficult to store it.

However, anti-matter is of great use in physics research. Verifying that conventional chemistry, kinetics, quantum dynamics, etc. occur the same way in anti-matter complexes as in regular matter complexes is important, and understanding the nature of matter/anti-matter asymmetry is very important in cosmology and particle physics.

I agree that it's very important to understand and observe. I can't see how people expect it to ever serve a practical application though.

What would be amazing is if one day we could discover an anti-matter galaxy. As far as I know one could theoretically exist if it's remained isolated from matter.

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