Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Experiment offers first glimpse inside antimatter atom

Date:
March 7, 2012
Source:
Simon Fraser University
Summary:
Scientists have used microwaves to manipulate antihydrogen atoms, providing the first glimpse of an "anti-atomic fingerprint." The present measurement involved confining anti-atoms in a magnetic trap and irradiating them with microwaves. Precise tuning of the microwave frequency and magnetic field enabled researchers to hit an internal resonance, kicking atoms out of the trap, and revealing information about their properties.

For the first time, scientists have successfully used microwaves to manipulate antihydrogen atoms.
Credit: Image courtesy of Simon Fraser University

Two Simon Fraser University scientists are part of an international team that has for the first time successfully used microwaves to manipulate antihydrogen atoms. Their work could help answer fundamental questions about the universe.

Researchers will now start to measure the natural resonance frequencies of anti-hydrogen atoms and compare their findings against similar measurements on normal hydrogen atoms.

"This comparison is motivated in part by a question that has baffled scientists for a long time," says SFU physics professor Mike Hayden, lead author of the research paper published in Nature March 7. "The known laws of physics tell us that matter and antimatter should naturally exist in equal amounts. The problem is that we seem to live in a universe that is almost entirely devoid of antimatter.

"A possible explanation is that there might be some subtle difference between matter and antimatter, which let matter win out over time as the universe evolved. If a difference between hydrogen and anti-hydrogen is discovered, it could provide a valuable clue for solving this mystery."

Antimatter is a staple of science fiction, but it also stands out as one of the biggest mysteries of science fact. Enter microwave spectroscopy, one of the most sensitive techniques for probing the structure of atoms.

The present measurement, which was conducted by the ALPHA collaboration at CERN in Switzerland, involved irradiating magnetically-trapped anti-atoms with microwaves. Precise tuning of the microwave frequency and magnetic field enabled researchers to hit an internal resonance, kicking atoms out of the trap and revealing information about their properties.

"This experiment opens the door to precision comparisons of matter and antimatter," says SFU PhD candidate Mohammad Ashkezari, who is already working on installing a major upgrade to the apparatus. "Eventually measurements like this will reveal clues that may help solve one of the deepest mysteries in particle physics."

They might even help us understand why a universe made of matter exists at all.

"We have just witnessed the first-ever interactions between microwaves and trapped antimatter atoms," says Hayden. "It is very satisfying to know that Canadians played key roles in the success of this experiment, and that our contributions are highly valued by our international collaborators."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Simon Fraser University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Amole, M. D. Ashkezari, M. Baquero-Ruiz, W. Bertsche, P. D. Bowe, E. Butler, A. Capra, C. L. Cesar, M. Charlton, A. Deller, P. H. Donnan, S. Eriksson, J. Fajans, T. Friesen, M. C. Fujiwara, D. R. Gill, A. Gutierrez, J. S. Hangst, W. N. Hardy, M. E. Hayden, A. J. Humphries, C. A. Isaac, S. Jonsell, L. Kurchaninov, A. Little, N. Madsen, J. T. K. McKenna, S. Menary, S. C. Napoli, P. Nolan, K. Olchanski, A. Olin, P. Pusa, C. . Rasmussen, F. Robicheaux, E. Sarid, C. R. Shields, D. M. Silveira, S. Stracka, C. So, R. I. Thompson, D. P. van der Werf, J. S. Wurtele. Resonant quantum transitions in trapped antihydrogen atoms. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature10942

Cite This Page:

Simon Fraser University. "Experiment offers first glimpse inside antimatter atom." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120307132212.htm>.
Simon Fraser University. (2012, March 7). Experiment offers first glimpse inside antimatter atom. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120307132212.htm
Simon Fraser University. "Experiment offers first glimpse inside antimatter atom." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120307132212.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:

More Coverage


First Spectroscopic Measurement of an Anti-Atom

Mar. 7, 2012 Scientists have captured and held atoms of antihydrogen, a single antiproton orbited by a single positron. Now, by measuring antihydrogen's hyperfine structure, they have achieved another first ... read more

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