Scientists trap antihydrogen

Scientists at the CERN particle physics laboratory successfully entrapped and stored 38 anti-hydrogen matters for the first time, thus opening up new avenues for antimatter study.

Antimatter, an electrically neutral twin particle, is difficult to trap as they move very swiftly. In order to trap them magnetically, the scientists from CERN have developed slow moving anti-hydrogen particles using antiprotons and positrons.

After mixing 10 million antiprotons and 700 million positrons the scientists have created only 38 slow moving anti- hydrogen atoms, which itself shows the impossible nature of the task.

"Our efficiency isn't very good yet," says ALPHA spokesman Jeffrey Hangst of Aarhus University in Denmark. "We make a lot more anti-hydrogen than we can trap."  But, they hope that their new technology - antiproton cooling technique- will help them improve their success rate.

Scientists have created antimatters in the past too, but this is the first time they have actually captured and stored anti-hydrogen particles. Capturing and storing antimatter is much more difficult because when they come in contact with matter both will get annihilated. Scientists at CERN could trap the anti- hydrogen matter only after they designed the Minimum Magnetic Field Trap (MMFT).

Researchers around the world are trying to produce more slow moving anti-hydrogen particles which can be trapped for longer time. This way, scientists can study them closely. This latest feat achieved by the CERN scientists will help the scientific community to study the fundamental laws of science and gain deeper understanding of the laws of antimatter.

It will also allow them acquire better insight into the universe and explain the symmetry of the universe accurately. “This is an encouraging step towards the goal that I laid out long ago - to confine useful numbers of cold antihydrogen atoms long enough for precise laser spectroscopy," says Gerald Gabrielse of Harvard University.