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CERN Ups Antimatter Confinement Record to 15+ Minutes 206

A team at CERN has vastly increased its ability to confine antimatter, says an article published today at Scientific American. Last year, the same researchers managed to trap atoms of antihydrogen. "But," says the SciAm report, "the antihydrogen had at that time been confined for less than two tenths of a second. That interval has now been extended by a factor of more than 5,000. In a study published online June 5 in Nature Physics, the ALPHA group reports having confined antihydrogen for 16 minutes and 40 seconds. The more relevant number for physicists, who often deal in powers of 10, is 1,000 seconds."
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CERN Ups Antimatter Confinement Record to 15+ Minutes

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  • by Hermanas ( 1665329 ) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @06:08PM (#36345290)
    Then I don't know what is. These guys are no longer playing with the stuff our universe is made of, they're now playing with what it's /not/ made of. That's quite amazing, if you ask me.
  • Powers of ten (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tttonyyy ( 726776 ) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @06:16PM (#36345348) Homepage Journal

    I don't read slashdot anywhere near as much as I used to. And on this brief foray to sample from the pool of away-from-maintream reporting, what am I met with - an exciting progression in scientific endevour twisted into a painfully patronising slashdot summary.

    See you in another 10^3 days, hopefully there will be some improvement, but I won't be holding my breath :/

  • Re:Powers of ten (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 05, 2011 @06:22PM (#36345398)

    Slashdot: News for YOUR MOM, stuff that EVEN FOX NEWS PASSED ON

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 05, 2011 @07:45PM (#36345934)
    This is not true. Antimatter is the most potent known energy storage medium in the universe and as such can be used from anything to near-luminal space travel to power for micro-machines. Also, you're statement about it taking more energy to produce that it releases during annihilation applies to any energy storage medium because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics although I do admit it does take much more excess work energy to store energy in the form of antimatter. ( remember that you also have to enrich uranium, manufacture the detonation mechanism and high explosives )

    As for your statement "Before you create enough antimatter to light a bulb, you could wipe out most of humanity with ordinary nuclear weapons" this is just categorically false. The problem now is that current particle accelerators are designed to study particle physics, not to produce antimatter. In fact, Robert Forward [wikipedia.org] showed that if we were to build accelerators specifically designed to produce antimatter ( perhaps special linear wake-field accelerators ), we could potentially produce at least 1 milligram of antimatter per year at a cost of only around a 10 million dollars. If one where to use many accelerators in parallel that where able to produce higher energies, that amount might be up in the gram/kilogram range. In the future, we might harness the power of a rapidly rotating micro-back-hole as it's been proved, theoretically, [wikipedia.org] that matter in such a black hole's accretion disk gets converted directly into energy with 50% efficiency.

    To put things in perspective, it only takes a milligram or so of antimatter to put the shuttle into orbit.
  • by GargamelSpaceman ( 992546 ) on Monday June 06, 2011 @09:41AM (#36349470) Homepage Journal

    How close are they to being able to tell whether antimatter falls up or down?

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