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Science & Technology

Antimatter atoms trapped for first time

By T.K. Randall
November 19, 2010 · Comment icon 12 comments



Image Credit: Arpad Horvath
Scientists have succeeded in trapping 38 antimatter atoms in place for a fraction of a second.
The research is being conducted at the home of the Large Hadron Collider and is the first time antimatter has been held in place as usually it is destroyed as soon as it comes in to contact with normal matter.
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.


Source: BBC News | Comments (12)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by sepulchrave 12 years ago
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.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Answer42 12 years ago
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.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Automaton 12 years ago
Wow. That can really potentially shake up everything we thought we knew about physics. Interesting.
Comment icon #6 Posted by UFreak 12 years ago
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
Comment icon #7 Posted by Pihkal 12 years ago
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.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Answer42 12 years ago
May as well have caged some unicorns.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Xpeople 12 years ago
It is a big step then before.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Wickian 12 years ago
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.
Comment icon #11 Posted by sepulchrave 12 years ago
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 res... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Wickian 12 years ago
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 asy... [More]


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