Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Upping the anti: Canadian researchers instrumental in game-changing antimatter study

Date:
June 5, 2011
Source:
TRIUMF (Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics)
Summary:
Science fiction is fast approaching science fact as researchers are progressing rapidly toward "bottling" antimatter. Physicists with the ALPHA experiment at CERN report that they have succeeded in storing antimatter atoms for over 16 minutes.

This is an artist's image of the ALPHA trap which captured and stored antihydrogen atoms.
Credit: Chukman So

Science fiction is fast approaching science fact as researchers are progressing rapidly toward "bottling" antimatter.

In a paper published online in the journal Nature Physics, the ALPHA experiment at CERN, including key Canadian contributors, reports that it has succeeded in storing antimatter atoms for over 16 minutes. While carrying around bottled antimatter like in the movie "Angels and Demons" remains fundamentally far-fetched, storing antimatter for long periods of time opens up new vistas for scientists struggling to understand this elusive substance. ALPHA managed to store twice the antihydrogen (the antimatter partner to normal hydrogen) 5,000 times longer than the previous best, setting the stage, for example, to test whether antihydrogen and normal hydrogen fall the same way due to gravity.

Lead author Makoto Fujiwara, TRIUMF research scientist, University of Calgary adjunct professor, and spokesperson of the Canadian part of the ALPHA team said, "We know we have confined antihydrogen atoms for at least for 1,000 seconds. That's almost as long as one period in hockey! This is potentially a game changer in antimatter research."

Antimatter remains one of the biggest mysteries of science. At the Big Bang, matter and antimatter should have been produced equally, but since they destroy each other upon contact, eventually nothing should have remained but pure energy (light). However, all observations suggest that only the antimatter has vanished. To figure out what happened to "the lost half of the universe," scientists are eager to determine if, as predicted, the laws of physics are the same for both matter and antimatter. ALPHA uses an analogue of a very well-known system in physics, the hydrogen atom (one electron orbiting one proton), and testing whether its antimatter twin, antihydrogen (an antielectron orbiting an antiproton), behaves the same. But to study something one must hold onto it long enough.

Fujiwara asks, "Does antimatter shine in the same colour as matter? Does it experience the gravity in the same way as matter?" These are still very difficult experiments, and they will take long and hard work, but this new result is a very important step. Now experiments will be about 10,000 times less difficult than before!" Explained ALPHA spokesperson Jeffrey Hangst of Aarhus University, "This would provide the first-ever look inside the structure of antihydrogen -- element 1 on the anti-periodic table."

Antihydrogen atoms were first made in large quantities at CERN eight years ago, but can't be stored conventionally since antiatoms touching the ordinary-matter walls of a bottle would instantly annihilate. The ALPHA collaboration succeeded by developing a sophisticated "magnetic bottle" using a state-of-the-art superconducting magnet to suspend the antiatoms away from the walls, last year demonstrating definitive proof of antihydrogen atom capture for about a tenth of a second, likely the first contained antiatoms in the history of the universe.

Canadian scientists have been playing leading roles in the antihydrogen detection and data analysis aspects of the project. The next step for ALPHA is to start performing measurements on bottled antihydrogen, and this is due to get underway later this year. The first step is to illuminate the trapped anti-atoms with microwaves to determine if they absorb exactly the same frequencies (or energies) as their matter twins.

"I've always liked hydrogen atoms," said Walter Hardy of the University of British Columbia a leading expert in atomic hydrogen studies. "It's ironic that we are now trying to measure the same properties of antihydrogen that I measured many years ago on regular hydrogen. It is a crucial comparison, though, and will tell us if we truly understand the relationship between matter and antimatter. "

Support for ALPHA-Canada and its research came from NSERC (National Science and Engineering Research Council, TRIUMF, AIF (Alberta Ingenuity Fund), the Killam Trust, and FQRNT (Le Fonds qu้b้cois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by TRIUMF (Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. ALPHA Collaboration: G. B. Andresen, M. D. Ashkezari, M. Baquero-Ruiz, W. Bertsche, P. D. Bowe, E. Butler, C. L. Cesar, M. Charlton, A. Deller, S. Eriksson, J. Fajans, T. Friesen, M. C. Fujiwara, D. R. Gill, A. Gutierrez, J. S. Hangst, W. N. Hardy, R. S. Hayano, M. E. Hayden, A. J. Humphries, R. Hydomako, S. Jonsell, S. L. Kemp, L. Kurchaninov, N. Madsen, S. Menary, P. Nolan, K. Olchanski, A. Olin, P. Pusa, C. ุ. Rasmussen, F. Robicheaux, E. Sarid, D. M. Silveira, C. So, J. W. Storey, R. I. Thompson, D. P. van der Werf, J. S. Wurtele, Y. Yamazaki. Confinement of antihydrogen for 1,000 seconds. Nature Physics, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nphys2025

Cite This Page:

TRIUMF (Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics). "Upping the anti: Canadian researchers instrumental in game-changing antimatter study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110605131343.htm>.
TRIUMF (Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics). (2011, June 5). Upping the anti: Canadian researchers instrumental in game-changing antimatter study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110605131343.htm
TRIUMF (Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics). "Upping the anti: Canadian researchers instrumental in game-changing antimatter study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110605131343.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 16, 2014) — Japanese researcher uses an eye-sensor camera to enable a bipedal robot to balance itself, while running on a treadmill. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) — Lockheed Martin announced plans to develop the first-ever compact nuclear fusion reactor. But some experts said the excitement is a little premature. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) — A Google Glass user was treated for Internet Addiction Disorder caused from overuse of the device. Morgan Manousos (@MorganManousos) has the details on how many hours he spent wearing the glasses, and what his symptoms were. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) — The American Chemical Society’s latest video about chemistry in every day life breaks down pizza, and explains exactly why it's so delicious. Gillian Pensavalle (@GillianWithaG) has the video. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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