CERN scientists trapped antimatter for as long as 1,000 seconds

By on Jun 6, 2011 in Amazing, Environment, Science, United States Comments

Antimatter, a rare and an elusive type of matter, has been trapped for about 1,000 seconds (more than 16 minutes), which was considered a breakthrough in science.

trapping antimatter (simplified version)
Illustration Credit: Katie Bertsche/LiveScience

As reported at Live Science on Sunday, June 5, scientists from European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland have trapped antimatter for an amazing 1,000 seconds.

Antimatter was noted to be is like a mirror image of matter, with the same mass but having the opposite charge.

Taking hydrogen atom as an example, a matching antimatter particle called antihydrogen atom is being thought to exist.

“We’ve trapped antihydrogen atoms for as long as 1,000 seconds, which is “forever” in the world of high-energy in particle physics.” CERN ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus) experiment member Joel Fajans said on the report.

“Hopefully, by 2012, we will have a new trap with laser access to allow spectroscopic experiments on the antiatoms,” Fajans added, who is also a University of California physics professor and a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

Nevertheless, trapping antimatter is being considered to be a difficult process since antimatter and matter annihilate each other when the two are being made contact.

Apparently, CERN scientist trapped antimatter inside a magnetic bottle, and detected the trapped antiatoms by turning off the magnetic field. This allows the particles to annihiliate with normal matter, which later can create a flash of light.

As of this writing, Fajans and his colleagues reportedly have already trapped 309 antihydrogen atoms in various traps since the project started.

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