Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physicist Trying To Store Antimatter In Small Box Using Radiofrequency

Date:
August 15, 2007
Source:
European Science Foundation
Summary:
Physicists want to study antimatter much more closely and confirm beyond all doubt that it really is the exact opposite of the matter we observe in everyday existence, but there is a problem. Antimatter is very difficult to make, and even harder to store afterwards, making it more precious to scientists than gold. The moment it comes into contact with the normal matter surrounding us it annihilates within a trillionth of second, so it has to be isolated and manipulated indirectly.

Physicists want to study antimatter much more closely and confirm beyond all doubt that it really is the exact opposite of the matter we observe in everyday existence, but there is a problem. Antimatter is very difficult to make, and even harder to store afterwards, making it more precious to scientists than gold.

The moment it comes into contact with the normal matter surrounding us it annihilates within a trillionth of second, so it has to be isolated and manipulated indirectly. Until now this has only been possible in large expensive apparatus using electric or magnetic fields to contain the antimatter.

Enter Japanese EURYI Award winner Dr. Masaki Hori. His project was chosen for one of a valuable EURYI Awards because Hori aims to break new ground in handling and storing anti-matter, in this case sub-atomic particles called anti-protons. These are the exact opposite of the protons within the nucleus of every atom, having negative rather than positive charge. He has been cooperating with the Max-Planck-Institute in Germany on this research.

“The newness here is that I want to use radiofrequency (and not magnetic fields like other experimental groups) to store the antiprotons,” said Hori. “The advantage is that the gadget can then be made quite compact, maybe the size of an office wastebasket.” Hori calls this new basket, the "superconducting radiofrequency quadrupole trap".

The EURYI Award is organised by the European science Foundation (ESF) and the European Heads of Research Councils (EuroHORCS). The awards scheme, entering its fourth and final year, aims to attract outstanding young researchers from anywhere in the world to work in Europe for the further development of European science, contributing to building up the next generation of leading European researchers.

Hori then plans to exploit this new device to create new complete atoms comprising anti-matter and then conduct experiments that prove these really do behave exactly as physicists have predicted on the basis of being the exact opposite of matter. “Scientists believe that nature, at a very fundamental level, possesses a symmetry called "CPT" (Charge, Parity, and Time-reversal): this means, if we were to imagine an "antiworld", where all the matter in the universe were replaced with antimatter, the left and right directions inverted as if in a mirror, and the flow of time reversed, it would be completely indistinguishable from our real matter world,” said Hori. “Since this symmetry is of such crucial importance in our understanding of the world, it is of the first importance to test it at the highest possible precision.”

Hori has already laid the ground for this project in his previous research on the antiproton. “What I have done up till now has been to measure the mass and electric charge of the antiproton with a very high level of precision of several parts per billion,” said Hori. “We found that the antiproton did in fact have EXACTLY the same mass as the proton, and equal but opposite charge.”

To achieve this, Hori manufactured a special type of atom, called "antiprotonic helium", which is made of half matter and half antimatter. “I then measured this artificial atom's spectra using a laser beam, which yielded the above information on the antiproton,” said Hori, showing that antimatter obeys all the predictions about its symmetry up to this higher level of accuracy.

Antimatter is not just of academic interest, because it has already been applied with great success in medical diagnosis in the PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanner, which has saved many lives. Positrons are the anti-matter opposite of electrons, carrying a positive rather than negative charge. In PET scanning, patients are injected with a radioactive isotope which decays in the body by emitting positrons. When these annihilate after coming into contact with electrons, a characteristic burst of light is produced, detected by the PET scanner.

Hori anticipates an exciting future for antimatter, with many potential applications, even though he doubted whether it could be used as a source of energy for powering space ships, as had been thought.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Science Foundation. "Physicist Trying To Store Antimatter In Small Box Using Radiofrequency." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070813094431.htm>.
European Science Foundation. (2007, August 15). Physicist Trying To Store Antimatter In Small Box Using Radiofrequency. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070813094431.htm
European Science Foundation. "Physicist Trying To Store Antimatter In Small Box Using Radiofrequency." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070813094431.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins