Antimatter has been trapped in a container and held, for the first time, for more than a quarter of an hour giving Canadian scientists the first chance to study it, reports

The first antimatter ever created, in the mid-1990s, annihilated itself in the tiniest fraction of a second. “You can practically bottle the stuff,” says Marcello Pavan of Triumf, Canada’s national particle physics lab in Vancouver.

The work comes from CERN, the Swiss lab better known as the place where scientists smash protons against each other, and about one-third of the antimatter group is Canadian. That includes its leader, Makoto Fujiwara of Triumf in Vancouver, who is thrilled at the new ability to bring an almost unknown material into the lab.

In normal matter an electron with a negative charge orbits a nucleus with a positive proton. In antimatter, a positively-charged version of the electron, called a positron, orbits a negative antiproton. It’s famous in science fiction from Star Trek to Angels and Demons. The Fujiwara team reports today in the journal Nature on 309 antiatoms it has created.

When antimatter touches matter, it annihilates itself in a burst of energy -a fact used over and over in science fiction. When the first real antimatter was manufactured, it would shoot along at close to light speed, bang into ordinary matter and obliterate itself.

Now it sits still, waiting for someone to do experiments on it.

Facebook comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *