Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

CERN Antimatter Experiment Produces First Beam of Antihydrogen 136

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-we-just-need-some-dilithium-crystals dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Matter and antimatter annihilate immediately when they meet, so aside from creating antihydrogen, one of the key challenges for physicists is to keep antiatoms away from ordinary matter. To do so, experiments take advantage of antihydrogen's magnetic properties (which are similar to hydrogen's) and use very strong non-uniform magnetic fields to trap antiatoms long enough to study them. However, the strong magnetic field gradients degrade the spectroscopic properties of the (anti)atoms. To allow for clean high-resolution spectroscopy, the ASACUSA collaboration developed an innovative set-up to transfer antihydrogen atoms to a region where they can be studied in flight, far from the strong magnetic field (scientific paper)."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

CERN Antimatter Experiment Produces First Beam of Antihydrogen

Comments Filter:
  • I hope not. A future controlled by CERN is terrifying.
  • Anti-hydrogen weapon?
    • Re:First! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @04:41PM (#46029159) Journal
      'Weapons that don't work if there is matter between you and the target' are probably kind of a niche at present...
      • Re:First! (Score:5, Funny)

        by martyb (196687) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @04:54PM (#46029287)

        Anti-hydrogen weapon?

        'Weapons that don't work if there is matter between you and the target' are probably kind of a niche at present...

        So, basically, if an enemy got hold of this, it wouldn't matter? ;)

        • by CODiNE (27417)

          Just shoot it behind a powerful laser blast.

          • Precisely. Something in front to cleanup the matter along the way, then the anti-hydrogen. But its probably easier to fire positrons.

            • Re:First! (Score:5, Insightful)

              by OneAhead (1495535) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:07PM (#46030421)
              Parent and GP's suggestions might work in SF, but in real physics, a powerful laser blast will just break the ordinary matter into smaller pieces, which will still be sitting in the way. As for the positrons, they won't quite annihilate the ordinary matter; some of them would annihilate with electrons, but most of them would convert neutrons into protons, if I remember the nuclear chemistry chapters of my bachelor's courses correctly. The resulting unstable cores would either decay or fission, but the products would still be ordinary matter, and no matter (pun not intended) how long you keep repeating this, there would still be a lot of ordinary matter left that cannot be converted to energy any further by bombarding with positrons. </humorless pedantic nitpic>
              • by fisted (2295862)

                [...] the nuclear chemistry chapters [...]

                It's spelled Nucular.

          • by kyrsjo (2420192)

            That would maybe clear out the most of the electrons (as done in laser plasma wakefield acceleration), but leave the ions behind.

        • by MarkRose (820682)

          One could say It matters so little it antimatters.

      • mmm... yeah, more like some sort of satellite to satellite weapon maybe.
        What are the chances of hitting space debris of some sort?

        Hold that thought... Can we use this thing to clean the orbit or the path before, let's say the ISS?
        • by rlwhite (219604)

          The solar wind might not be all that dense [hypertextbook.com], but I still wouldn't chance the antimatter finding a random ion too close to the launcher.

          • Re:First! (Score:4, Interesting)

            by danlip (737336) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @05:35PM (#46029673)

            The annihilation of a single hydrogen atom probably isn't going to hurt much, it's not that much energy.

            • by Tablizer (95088)

              The annihilation of a single hydrogen atom probably isn't going to hurt much, it's not that much energy.

              I'm a proton, and it blew my electrons clean off, you insensitive clod! I had to move in with relatives to remain stable.

          • The solar wind might not be all that dense [hypertextbook.com], but I still wouldn't chance the antimatter finding a random ion too close to the launcher.

            Depending on the altitude, there's more up there than just the solar wind. The escaped particles from the ionosphere, for one.

            Much of the space environment around the earth (in fact in the whole universe) contains plasma at varying densities. Whether an antimatter beam could travel very far in earth orbit would depend on its flux and the ambient mean-free path for the antimatter particles in question. I'm not sure what the numbers would be for antimatter, but some quick Googling reveals that non-exotic m

    • Jokingly, every blackhole could be composed solely of antimatter and the universe would be no different. Except, well, actually this statement is true --- every blackhole could be exclusively made of antimatter, because beyond the event horizon the contents of a blackhole cannot interact with the rest of the universe except gravitationally.
  • by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @04:07PM (#46028785)

    That is only one ionization away from something potentially very dangerous [youtube.com].

  • by tedgyz (515156) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @04:19PM (#46028929) Homepage

    This is eerily similar to the famous Death Star scene in Episode IV [youtube.com]. You can even imagine the control panel and sounds are not too different.

  • The party potential of anti-H2O is just too great.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I want anti-helium so I can inhale and talk LOWER.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    something less useful? what could be more less useful than firing all of our guns at once & exploding into space?

  • by mcmonkey (96054) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @04:35PM (#46029095) Homepage

    This may be a case where the experts are too close to the problem to see the simple solution.

    Put the antihydrogen in a container made of antimatter, then annihilation will not be an issue.

    Perhaps some sort of rigid anti-dirigible

    • Good idea. I'll call anti-Hitler; he's always eager to help.

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Put the antihydrogen in a container made of antimatter, then annihilation will not be an issue

      Only if the container is held by an antiperson; i.e. a politician.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @04:38PM (#46029123)

    Stuff that anti-matters.

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      Stuff that anti-matters.

      You mean "dash" "Slash" "dot" right? Chroot jail for you!

  • The first step towards the inevitable anti-Hydrogen Economy, yay!

  • by MetricT (128876) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @05:15PM (#46029459) Homepage

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1106.0847 [arxiv.org]

    One of the most interesting physics papers I've read in recent years. Does away with dark matter by presuming that antimatter has the opposite gravitational sign as matter (which pops out very naturally once you apply CPT to general relativity).

    As the electromagnetic force is almost 10^40 times stronger than gravity, it would be virtually impossible to test with anti-protons or positrons. But with electrically neutral anti-hydrogen, it becomes potentially testable.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Classical Physics Theories?
      Committee for the Prevention of Torture?
      Current Procedural Terminology?
      (Urban Dictionary Warning) Colored People Time?
    • by Mashdar (876825) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @06:14PM (#46029985)
      Do you mean does away with dark energy? Because dark matter is supposed to have positive mass, so I don't see how adding negative mass would remove the need for it?
    • by smaddox (928261)

      Polarized gravitation would also make some forms of man-made time travel possible, which would be quite interesting. It would be very revolutionary if antimatter turned out to have opposite gravitational sign. Unfortunately, we're probably still several years from knowing. Still exciting, though.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You are mistaken. Antimatter cannot have the opposite gravitational sign as matter in general relativity. If it did, it would be possible to distinguish between an experiment performed in a gravitational field (e.g. standing on earth, antimatter released in a vacuum chamber would "float up") and an experiment performed in an accelerating rocket (e.g. antimatter released in a vacuum chamber would be "left behind" and would "fall down").

      You may be familiar with the fact that light is affected by gravitation

      • by dkf (304284)

        You are mistaken. Antimatter cannot have the opposite gravitational sign as matter in general relativity. If it did, it would be possible to distinguish between an experiment performed in a gravitational field (e.g. standing on earth, antimatter released in a vacuum chamber would "float up") and an experiment performed in an accelerating rocket (e.g. antimatter released in a vacuum chamber would be "left behind" and would "fall down").

        It's an assumption that that is true, not a proven thing. We don't know if the gravitational mass of antimatter has the same sign as the inertial mass of antimatter, nor do we know why those two quantities have the same sign (and value) as each other in normal matter. Accumulating enough cold antimatter to be able to measure gravitational effects at all is hard, as is explained elsewhere on this thread. Without the experimental evidence, no amount of armchair theorising is going to be truly sound.

    • by ppanon (16583)
      I have been wondering how this would affect black hole evaporation through Hawking radiation. If it invalidates it, then we might want to be extra careful in the future about risking creating quantum black holes.
    • IANAP, but there's a few things that occur to me.

      First, the impression I get is that they're hypothesizing that matter attracts matter, anti-matter attracts anti-matter, and matter and anti-matter mutually repel. We know that the first is true, the second is not testable until we can get enough anti-matter in one place to measure gravitational effects, and the third might be testable. Can we create a beam of positrons that's sufficiently slow, or travels sufficiently far, that we could measure its disp

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "To allow for clean high-resolution spectroscopy, the ASACUSA collaboration developed an innovative set-up to transfer antihydrogen atoms to a region where they can be studied in flight, far from the strong magnetic field (scientific paper)."

    Let me guess. It involves the use of Dilithium crystals.

  • Cool (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by jd2112 (1535857)
    Can we combine antihydrogen with antioxygen and find out if antiwater is dry?
  • I think this is a good sign to go ahead and start building the Enterprise. Too early?

  • From:
    http://physics.aps.org/article... [aps.org]
    Published March 25, 2013 | Physics 6, 36 (2013) | DOI: 10.1103/Physics.6.36

    One symmetry that has so far avoided any signs of breaking is the so-called CPT symmetry, which equates matter and antimatter at a fundamental level.

    With this data analysis technique, they determined the antiproton’s magnetic moment to be pN=2.792845(12), which has equal magnitude, within experimental uncertainty, to the NIST CODATA recommended value for the proton magnetic mome

White dwarf seeks red giant for binary relationship.

Working...