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Sci-Fi Science Technology

Design Starting For Matter-Antimatter Collider 191

couch_warrior writes "The Register is carrying a story on the early design efforts for the next generation of high-energy particle accelerators. They will be linear, and will collide matter and antimatter in the form of electrons and positrons. The obvious question will be: once we have a matter-antimatter reactor, how long till we have warp drive, and will the Vulcans show up for a sneak-peak?"
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Design Starting For Matter-Antimatter Collider

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  • by ivan_w ( 1115485 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @03:21AM (#29678045) Homepage

    ZPMs (Zero Point Modules) still won't cut it..

    a ZPM (the SG-1/SGA fictuous device) that's suppose to drain energy from empty space is still a device that (supposedly) gets you free regular energy.. no Exotic matter here.. sorry


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08, 2009 @03:50AM (#29678167)

    What you are looking for is matter with negative mass.

    Sadly, this is impossible: Graviton (mediates inertia) and Higgs (mediates mass) particles are their own antiparticles, similar to Photon (mediates electromagnetism). (At least as postulated by current physics)

    You therefor cannot have negative mass any more than you can have "Anti-light."

    What you MIGHT be able to do is create a condition where Higgs or Graviton particles/waves are naturally disrupted, or self-interfering in such a fashion as to give an object unusual properties. (Like entangling a beam of photons with itself so that it causes beam scattering like in traditional holographic imaging, only with gravitational energy, to produce a "gravity hologram".) But to do that you would need to know MUCH more about the particles/waves in question, which we don't.

  • Re:Duh! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by invisiblerhino ( 1224028 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:16AM (#29678301)
    You're absolutely right. To jump on the bandwagon, there's been one since at least the seventies, when CERN modified the Super Proton Synchrotron to be a Super Proton-Antiproton Synchrotron. In the meantime, HERA at DESY collided protons and positrons for years... I don't know the history, so not sure when the first one was. In any case, this is definitely not news. The most interesting things about the forthcoming colliders is not whether they use antimatter: to quote Gerard 't Hooft's replies to physics cranks: "Antimatter is routine, and time travel is impossible." The most interesting thing is what they will discover. Additionally, the article totally misses the point. For some reason, they've latched on to a fairly technical accelerator physics topic. CLIC is not proposed to be built any time in the near future (look out for the International Linear Collider first), and wakefields are a purely electromagnetic effect, nothing to do with space and time warping. They are interesting in themselves, and as a possible future accelerator design (google wakefield accelerator).
  • "sneak-peak" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:23AM (#29678323)
    and will the Vulcans show up for a sneak-peak?

    Peak: top of a mountain.

    And the daily Slashdot malapropism award goes to samzenpus.

  • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:56AM (#29678479)
    For once, read TFA. It's quite amusing. And it isn't about what it seems to be.

    It's about wakefields and the possibility of reducing their external effects by detuning. What makes this interesting is that the proposals for next-gen small accelerators are about deliberately using wakefields to achieve very high acceleration over very short ranges, effectively getting particles to surf on laser-induced wakefields.

    The guy with the proposal also manages to give a spectacularly bad example of detuning - bells, anyone? - which fully complies with the Bad Analogy requirements, i.e. detuning is nothing at all like having lots of bells, and the analogy doesn't provide any insight at all into what is happening. Detuning is more like resting a finger gently on a vibrating guitar string.

    All this article really tells me is that wakefields are very hot in particle accelerator research, and efforts are focussing on reducing their unwanted effects as well as extracting more energy from them.

  • Re:antimatter (Score:3, Interesting)

    by biryokumaru ( 822262 ) * <> on Thursday October 08, 2009 @08:00AM (#29679369)
    I thought it had something to do with time... Like, positrons were electrons going the other way in time, which is why they annihilate when they collide and produce a photon. Really the electron is hitting a photon and turning around in time. Likewise with pair production. Anyone know if this is right? I honestly think that quantum physics book was chock full of lies...
  • Re:Wrong Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lennier ( 44736 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:36PM (#29686935) Homepage

    I've always thought the logical solution to space energy needs would be:

    1. Built cluster of giant solar-powered accelerators in close solar orbit, say around Mercury
    2. Automatically refine positrons and antiprotons into cryogenic antihydrogen
    3. Figure out some way of diamagnetic containment using a really strong magnetic field.
    4. Ship tanks of the devil's brew to the outer system
    5. Mix antihydrogen and real hydrogen to make a crude but energetic brute-force rocket. Maybe 1 part anti-H2 to 1000 H2 or something, so you get enough reaction mass. Otherwise it'll all be just gamma rays. That's just a small matter of engineering, anyway.

    6. Explore strange new worlds! Profit from new lifeforms! And if your power supply ever glitches: kablooey! Not much use for lifeboats.

    Look it would make space travel EXCITING and that's the important bit, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08, 2009 @08:19PM (#29687759)

    CERN's LHC is notable for being the first collider that doesn't collide antiparticles. Colliding antiparticles is the standard design.

    You might remember that the tunnel LHC is using was previously occupied by the LEP collider, which stands for "large electron/positron". The Tevatron also collides protons and antiprotons.

    Since protons and antiprotons curve in opposite directions in a magnetic field, it's very convenient to build one set of magnets and use them for `two beams of particles in going in opposite directions.

    LHC, as the first proton/proton collider, has a much more complicated magnet design because it needs to generate two different magnetic fields. But the number of particles it needs is so high that it was impractical (and even more expensive) to generate that many antiprotons.

All extremists should be taken out and shot.