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Sunday, June 05, 2011

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CERN physicists trap antihydrogen atoms for more than 16 minutes

June 5, 2011
CERN physicists trap antihydrogen atoms for more than 16 minutes

This is an artistic representation of the ALPHA neutral antimatter trap, suggesting the nature of the ALPHA apparatus as a container for antihydrogen. Credit: Chukman So, copyright © 2011 Wurtele Research Group. All rights reserved.
Trapping antihydrogen atoms at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has become so routine that physicists are confident that they can soon begin experiments on this rare antimatter equivalent of the hydrogen atom, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
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"We've trapped   for as long as 1,000 seconds, which is forever" in the world of high-energy particle physics, said Joel Fajans, UC Berkeley professor of physics, faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a member of the ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus) experiment at  in Geneva, Switzerland.
The ALPHA team is hard at work building a new antihydrogen trap with "the hope that by 2012 we will have a new trap with laser access to allow spectroscopic experiments on the antiatoms," he said.
Fajans and the ALPHA team, which includes Jonathan Wurtele, UC Berkeley professor of physics, will publish their latest successes online on June 5 in advance of print publication in the journal . Fajans, Wurtele and their graduate students played major roles in designing the  trap and other aspects of the experiment.
Their paper reports that in a series of measurements last year, the team trapped 112 antiatoms for times ranging from one-fifth of a second to 1,000 seconds, or 16 minutes and 40 seconds.
Since the experiment first successfully trapped antihydrogen atoms in 2009, the researchers have captured 309.
"We'd prefer being able to trap a thousand atoms for a thousand seconds, but we can still initiate laser and microwave experiments to explore the properties of antiatoms," Fajans said.
In November 2010, Fajans, Wurtele and the ALPHA team reported their first data on trapped antihydrogen: 38 antiatoms trapped for more than one-tenth of a second each. They succeeded in capturing an antiatom in only about one in 10 attempts, however.
Toward the end of last year's experiments, they were capturing an antiatom in nearly every attempt, and were able to keep the antiatoms in the trap as long as they wanted. Realistically, trapping for 10-30 minutes will be sufficient for most experiments, as long as the antiatoms are in their lowest energy state, or ground state. 
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"These antiatoms should be identical to normal matter hydrogen atoms, so we are pretty sure all of them are in the ground state after a second," Wurtele said.
"These were likely the first ground state antiatoms ever made," Fajans added.
In an antihydrogen atom (top), a positively charged antielectron, or positron, orbits a negatively charged antiproton: the mirror image of an ordinary hydrogen atom (bottom). Credit: Chukman So, copyright © 2011 Wurtele Research Group. All rights reserved.
Antimatter is a puzzle because it should have been produced in equal amounts with normal matter during the Big Bang that created the universe 13.6 billion years ago. Today, however, there is no evidence of antimatter galaxies or clouds, and antimatter is seen rarely and for only short periods, for example during some types of radioactive decay before it annihilates in a collision with normal matter.
Hence the desire to measure the properties of antiatoms in order to determine whether their electromagnetic and gravitational interactions are identical to those of normal matter. One goal is to check whether antiatoms abide by CPT symmetry, as do normal atoms. CPT (charge-parity-time) symmetry means that a particle would behave the same way in a mirror universe if it had the opposite charge and moved backward in time.
"Any hint of CPT symmetry breaking would require a serious rethink of our understanding of nature," said Jeffrey Hangst of Aarhus University in Denmark, spokesperson for the ALPHA experiment. "But half of the universe has gone missing, so some kind of rethink is apparently on the agenda."
ALPHA captures antihydrogen by mixing antiprotons from CERN's Antiproton Decelerator with positrons – antielectrons – in a vacuum chamber, where they combine into antihydrogen atoms. The cold neutral antihydrogen is confined within a magnetic bottle, taking advantage of the tiny magnetic moments of the antiatoms. Trapped antiatoms are detected by turning off the magnetic field and allowing the particles to annihiliate with normal matter, which creates a flash of light.
Because the confinement depends on the antihydrogen's magnetic moment, if the spin of the antiatom flips, it is ejected from the magnetic bottle and annihilates with an atom of normal matter. This gives the experimenters an easy way to detect the interaction of light or microwaves with antihydrogen, because photons at the right frequency make the antiatom's spin flip up or down.
This is an artist's image of the ALPHA trap which captured and stored antihydrogen atoms. Credit: Chukman So
Though the team has trapped up to three antihydrogen atoms at once, the goal is to trap even more for long periods of time in order to achieve greater statistical precision in the measurements.
The ALPHA collaboration also will report in the Nature Physics paper that the team has measured the energy distribution of the trapped antihydrogen atoms.
"It may not sound exciting, but it's the first experiment done on trapped antihydrogen atoms," Wurtele said. "This summer, we're planning more experiments, with microwaves. Hopefully, we will measure microwave-induced changes of the atomic state of the antiatoms."
More information: "Confinement of antihydrogen for 1000 seconds," Nature Physicshttp://www.nature. … s/index.html
Provided by University of California - Berkeley (news : web)
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thingumbobesquire
just added

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In reality, this research is as crucial to the survival of humanity as the space program and yet it will be soon "defunded" like NASA's manned space program if the derivative speculators controlling Obama get their way...

Heyyy look, thingumbobsquire is an idiot, how cute.
Oh yea, NASA contracting out work for independant space company's to take cargo up, that's a sign of giving up on the space program. Oh yea, NASA providing grants to private space programs ... another sign NASA is giving up on space.

What a stupid person. Do you have any idea how bloated and inefficient the government is? Contracting space program work out to private companies is the most cost efficient and effective method to advancing possible.

The decisions are incredibly strategic and intelligent, you're just too naive to see the whole picture, you're blind to reality and filled with paranoia and delusion.

Is it seriously that difficult for you to do some grown-up level research before blabbering on like that?

Let me guess, you're actually hate Obama because he's black, and all this BS is a way of skirting around your real problems? Because where I stand it's amazingly obvious that NASA has not given up on space, at all.
stndspec 
16 hours ago 

Rank: 3.8 / 5 (9)
@thingumbobesquire While the US is involved and has contributed to the development of the LHC, the fact that this is an international project means Obama has zero control over it. I do agree that CERN efforts are among the most vital of experiments, I also agree we (US) should be spending more tax dollars on space exploration both in the private and gov sectors. Much as I suspect you dislike Obama (based on the fact that you believe he is a threat to things he has nothing to do with), do you really think its he who is responsible for the budget restrictions? Try an out of control, filibustering republican group with no vision or comprehension of what the future holds through science, and zero desire to fund research through the National Science Foundation, but no issues raising the spending levels if its research funded via Dept of Defense. We're having trouble prioritizing as a nation, but Obama was not elected emperor- only so much one man can do against that belligerent crowd.
Bizzles13 
15 hours ago 

Rank: 4.5 / 5 (4)
Great Job guys!! I for one, am excited to see this kind of progress...don't pay attention to the mindless political hacks.

side note: anti-matter energy "force field" in combo w/ an EMF field ?? (it's getting better for interstellar! :p )
Telekinetic 
15 hours ago 

Rank: 3.4 / 5 (8)
Seems to me that scientific research has blossomed since the overthrow of George W.(Armageddon? Bring it on!) Bush and "What's in it for me?" Cheney. Stem cell research, the funding of solar and wind electrical generation projects, as well as a new leader with a vision and agenda of scientific advancement aimed at solving problems on a global scale- I'd say this is an exciting era for science. If it weren't for Bush's blunders, there'd be a helluva lot more money for space exploration.
antialias_physorg 
15 hours ago 

Rank: 5 / 5 (3)
side note: anti-matter energy "force field" in combo w/ an EMF field ?? (it's getting better for interstellar! :p )

Hardly. The energy it takes to create one atom of anti-hydrogen is atrocious. Don't count on this being the 'interstellat fuel' of tomorrow.

This is important in other respects. wWhen we can store some anti hydrogen atoms for a long time we'll finally be able to test whether antimatter reacts to gravity the same way as matter does.
Telekinetic 
15 hours ago 

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"When we can store some anti hydrogen atoms for a long time we'll finally be able to test whether antimatter reacts to gravity the same way as matter does."

How long a time do you suppose would be long enough?
hush1 
14 hours ago 

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Kudos. 
I like the potential implications in understanding very much.
"Rethink" beats a "reboot" hands down.
fmfbrestel 
14 hours ago 

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This exact same article has already been reported and is even on this site: http://www.physor...oms.html

@Telekinetic - From the last article, the scientists seem to think 1000 seconds would be enough, they probably just need to add a cooling device. --
Up next for the ALPHA team are plans to cool a small bunch of antihydrogen atoms in such a way as to allow them to watch as it either rises or falls due to gravity, thus answering one of the more exciting questions regarding antimatter, in perhaps just the next few months.
Baseline 
12 hours ago 

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Realistically, trapping for 10-30 minutes will be sufficient for most experiments, as long as the antiatoms are in their lowest energy state, or ground state.


No need to speculate it says what they need in the article.
Doschx 
12 hours ago 

Rank: 1.5 / 5 (2)
@Bizzles I like the way you think, it would be like ablative armor that releases huge amounts of usable energy when it successfully annihilates micrometeorites in the interstellar void.
Now I may be a physics dunce here but what happens to the kinetic energy in a matter/antimatter collision? Obviously it would have to convert to something else in order to be conserved so... Annihilation Energy plus KE(matter) plus KE(antimatter) = Sumation of Energy released? So... the faster your ship is going the more energy is released therefore the faster you can make your ship go? *queue evil laugh*
rynox 
11 hours ago 

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Silly questions I've always wondered... Is energy released when hydrogen & antihydrogen annihilate, or is it more of a cold annihilation? And what is the resulting product of this annihilation? For example, if you have 1mg of hydrogen & 1mg of antihydrogen annihilate, you have 2mg of what?
Vendicar_Decarian 
10 hours ago 

Rank: 5 / 5 (1)
"In reality, this research is as crucial to the survival of humanity" - ThinTard

While interesting, this research is unlikely to substantially benefit humanity, and with Rabid Conservatives threatening to defund all of government, we can be assured that if the Republican plan succeeds, then all science funding in America will be cancelled.
Vendicar_Decarian 
10 hours ago 

Rank: not rated yet
"For example, if you have 1mg of hydrogen & 1mg of antihydrogen annihilate, you have 2mg of what?" - rynox

You would have 1.8 E 11 Joules of pure energy that would consist of all known fundamental particles, and which would degrade largely into electrons, protons and their anti-particles (what you started with), along with gamma rays, neutrino's and other less reactive/ more stable particles. 
Vendicar_Decarian 
10 hours ago 

Rank: 4 / 5 (1)
"Contracting space program work out to private companies is the most cost efficient and effective method to advancing possible." - Tard of Tards

And that little children is why America is out of the space business but the socialist states of India, China, Japan, Europe and Russia aren't.
_nigmatic10 
9 hours ago 

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@vendicar

You are correct. Only a matter of time before most of the private sectors for space programs follow suit and outsource everything too. Then the Us will be a museum.
fmfbrestel 
9 hours ago 

Rank: 4 / 5 (1)
And that little children is why America is out of the space business but the socialist states of India, China, Japan, Europe and Russia aren't.


The reason why we are out of the manned space launch business is because we spent 9 billion on a now cancelled constellation program over the course of 4 years. 9 billion and they didn't even start building anything, just plans. How do you even spend 9 billion without producing anything? SpaceX spent 800 million over 10 years existing and orbited and recovered a capsule. Orbital and Blue Origin have spent similar money and haven't launched yet but at least have equipment built. 
Didn't Boeing recently get caught bribing officials while trying to get the new tanker contract from the military? Someone aught to audit Constellation because 9 billion is a lot for a couple rough draft blue prints.
Telekinetic 
9 hours ago 

Rank: 4 / 5 (1)
9 Billion? How about 3 TRILLION dollars as the real cost of the Iraq war? That much could have built us a bridge to Mars.
Turritopsis 
8 hours ago 

Rank: 1 / 5 (3)
Light is perceived as flowing in a straight line through space. Points of mass - singularity - are individual quanta of space time. The integration of all known spacial points is our known universe. The singularity influences in infinite spacial directions. Between spacial points energy travels unidirectionally (radiates), at spacial points it travels spherically due to infidirectional influence of the singularity. Matter is point energy. Point energy has directionality (charge), the charge on earth is uniformly polarized. Antimatter does not naturally exist within earths electric field. On earth antimatter production is energy expensive because of containment. Matter antimatter interstellar annihilators are a realistic drive with excellent potential. Very little is known about matter that makes up the universe, its speculative at best, antimatter may make up roughly half of the verse known, relying heavily on primitive detectors is naive. There is more to it than that.
Turritopsis 
8 hours ago 

Rank: 1 / 5 (2)
Empty space could be just as massive as non-empty space. What is space? Without space all points are next to each other. Space is dimensional. Matter also has dimensions. Each point of space has potential - it is neutral - out of neutral points of space matter antimatter is derivable. so how is mass derivable from space. Influence. Causation for matter antimatter derivation is energy. Energy is neither producable nor extinguishable. Energy causes matter and matter causes energy in an infinite interplay loop. Space is unwound - neutral - while matter is wound - charged (dualdirectionally). Light travels in unwound space the same way it does around wound space, the difference is perspective. That's relativity.
dompee 
7 hours ago 

Rank: 5 / 5 (1)
since no one seems to want to comment on the article i'll just make a quick simple quote while were wasting our time talking about politics & NASA.....it needs more funding & half a cent for every tax dollar is their current budget and yet as someone pointed out we were still able to "waste" billions of dollars on constellation, Obama scraped Bush's return to the Moon by 2025 plan and propsed we land on an asteroid 1st then put humans on Mars by I believe 2030 but don't quote me...much better direction in my opinion, now we certainly can raise NASA's budget just a bit, we also need the private sector working with NASA...now if only we could get that through congress, ha! Have we wasted enough time on this now? Oh yea that article I read...excellent work!
fmfbrestel 
7 hours ago 

Rank: 5 / 5 (1)
@Telekinetic - No argument from me about the wisdom (or lack there of) of the Iraq War. Classic threat construction. 

@Turritopsis - Wow, too many factual errors to count. Seriously, that reads almost like delusional science fiction - just enough real concepts and science vocabulary to make it sound like you know what your talking about, but all of your key assumptions are just wrong. 

1 - "individual quanta of space time" That is pure fiction. Space Time cannot be broken into quanta. 

2 - "The singularity influences in infinite spacial directions... Matter is point energy." Now we're starting to get delusional.

3 - "Point energy has directionality (charge), the charge on earth is uniformly polarized." More pure fiction. 

I could go on, but it just gets more delusional. 
Telekinetic 
7 hours ago 

Rank: not rated yet
@Turritopsis:
How would you plug your interpretation into the Many Worlds Interpretation?
Egleton 
1 hour ago 

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I'll wager 3 pounds of spuds to half a liquorice stick that anti-matter (anti mass, anyone?) makes anti-gravity. This is why it left. It was propelled out of the cosmos leaving us with a lot of energy from annihilation with matter, way back when. 
Although I cannot get my head around the topology of negative gravity in space/time. Could the anti-matter have been propelled backwards through time at the same rate as we are being propelled forward? So many questions, such a little brain.
antialias 
52 minutes ago 

Rank: not rated yet
While interesting, this research is unlikely to substantially benefit humanity, and with Rabid Conservatives threatening to defund all of government, we can be assured that if the Republican plan succeeds, then all science funding in America will be cancelled.

This work was done at CERN (which is not in the US)

such a little brain.

agreed. Take an introductory science course (or spend 30 minutes on wikipedia) before stating these kinds of hypotheses. You'll easily be able to figure out that they are ridiculous.
thingumbobesquire 
1 minute ago 

Rank: not rated yet
Gentleman. I beg your thousand pardons. To coin a phrase: Obama is no Jack Kennedy! Thanks for your kind consideration (to coin another.)

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