Antimatéria retida por 15 segundos???

terça-feira, junho 07, 2011

Published online 6 June 2011 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2011.349


Antimatter trapped for more than 15 minutes

Physicists have forced flighty atoms of antihydrogen to stick around, affording a better look at how antimatter behaves.

John Matson

An article from Scientific American

Maybe antimatter is finally ready for its close-up. A team of physicists has succeeded in producing rudimentary atoms of antimatter and holding on to them for several minutes, an advance that holds hope for detailed comparisons of how ordinary atoms of matter compare with their exotic antimatter counterparts.

The researchers, from the ALPHA antimatter experiment at CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics, reported last year the first trapping of antihydrogen, the simplest antimatter atom (see 'Antimatter held for questioning'). But 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 on 5 June in Nature Physics1, 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.

Artist's conception of an anithydrogen atom being released from the trap after 1000 seconds. The squiggly line represents the atom's path in the trap while it is trapped. The curved tracks emerging represent the annihilation products (pions) resulting when the released anti-atom hits the inner wall of the trap.

The subatomic particles of everyday matter — protons, neutrons and electrons — have antimatter cousins; when matter meets antimatter the two annihilate in a burst of energy. And just as the neutral hydrogen atom is made of a single proton bound to a electron, an atom of antihydrogen comprises an antiproton and a positron, the antimatter counterparts, respectively.

Read more here/Leia mais aqui: Nature