Friday, November 19, 2010

Antimatter - Its finally captured...!

Share |
Have you read 'Angels and Demons'...? If you have, then you would know what an antimatter is and how tricky, difficult it is to store it. ( If you haven't yet read it...please do read.Its an awesome novel..:) ) Anyway, in that novel they do store antimatter but it was impossible to store it in reality then. But science has advanced so much that, scientists have figured out a way to store antimatter and they are successful in their effort..!! Its 1st time in the history of science that an antimatter is stored for such a long duration of time that it can be studied..!!

For those who don't know what an antimatter is.... please refer HERE

This historic accomplishment is a result of a long term effort by an international collaboration at CERN called the ALPHA collaboration ( an international team of scientists working at CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva, Switzerland and many others. )

History of antimatter dates back to 1928 when Paul Dirac predicted the theoretical existence of antimatter. In 1932, Carl Anderson found the positrons ( anti-electrons) in cosmic ray debris. In 1995, at Berkeley lab first anti protons were created.
But till now what scientists were unable to do was to store the antimatter they created. In one millionth of second the anti matter was created would hit the material wall of accelerator and would annihilate.

But the ALPHA collaboration has made the impossible possible and they have created 'anti hydrogen' ( on contrary to a hydrogen atom which has an electron spinning around a proton, the antihydrogen has a positron spinning around an anti proton ) and they are able to store it long enough to study them - a whopping two tenths of a second..!!!

Am not going into the complete explanation regarding how exactly the antihydrogen is created and stored. You can just look at the pictures here of the set up of the experiment and guess how complex it is...:) But for those who are interested please do refer the article HERE......

Lets discuss where would this discovery lead to......
Will the study of the antimatter be able to solve the mystery behind the creation of the universe...????
You know, when big-bang happened according to the theory, equal amount of matter and antimatter were created. Then why not that matter and antimatter came into contact and annihilated..? Why matter remained and antimatter vanished...?

Jeffrey Hangst of Aarhus University, Denmark, spokesman for the ALPHA collaboration says "For reasons that no one yet understands, nature ruled out antimatter.It is thus very rewarding, and a bit overwhelming, to look at the ALPHA device and know that it contains stable, neutral atoms of antimatter... This inspires us to work that much harder to see if antimatter holds some secret."

So will the study of antimatter solves this mystery...??
Lets wait n see...:)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails