Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Scientists Create and Capture Antimatter

Scientists working on the big bang machine in Geneva have done the seemingly impossible: create, capture and release antimatter. The development could help researchers devise laboratory experiments to learn more about this strange substance, which mostly disappeared from the universe shortly after the Big Bang around 14 billion years ago.Trapping any form of antimatter is difficult, because as soon as it meets normal matter -- the stuff Earth and everything on it is made out of -- the two annihilate each other in powerful explosions. In a new study, physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva were able to create 38 antihydrogen atoms and preserve each for more than one-tenth of a second. The project was part of the ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus) experiment, an international collaboration that includes physicists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). More>