Simon Fraser University

Antihydrogen : TRAPPED

Hayden Research Group

 

Anti-hydrogen trap, courtesy cern.ch

Description

PhD Student Mohammad Dehghani Ashkezari and his supervisor Professor Mike Hayden from the SFU Department of Physics have done something that sounds like it comes straight out of a science fiction movie. They are part of an international team of scientists that has managed to capture and hold on to some atomic antimatter. Despite Hollywood plot lines that would have you believe otherwise, this is the first time anyone has actually managed this feat.

Even though scientists have now been producing antihydrogen atoms for about 15 years, no one has ever managed to hang on to them. Within a tiny fraction of a second the newly produced antimatter atoms collide with some ordinary matter and disappear in a flash.  Mike and Mohammad are part of an international collaboration that has managed to create a complicated magnetic bottle in which the antimatter can be stored, without ever touching the walls.

Antimatter – or more precisely the lack of antimatter in the universe – has puzzled physicists for decades. It is believed that equal amounts of matter and antimatter were produced in the early universe, but for some unknown reason matter won out. Almost nothing is left.  Now that the antimatter atoms can be contained, the team will perform careful measurements of their properties. They plan to look for minute differences between matter and antimatter atoms.

A paper describing the collaboration groundbreaking antimatter experiment was published online today in the science journal Nature (www.nature.com).  For more information on the ALPHA experiment, check here, or see the CBC News Item here.

 

Read the Article

 Trapped antihydrogen

The ALPHA Collaboration

Nature 2010, published November 17, 2010