CERN Scientists Observe Antimatter

Professor Jeffery Hangst. Credit: CERN

Professor Jeffery Hangst. Credit: CERN

Scientists from the ALPHA experiment at the CERN laboratory were recently able to hit antihydrogen atoms with a laser to observe the light they gave off as positrons in the atoms returned to lower energy levels.

“Using a laser to observe a transition in antihydrogen and comparing it to hydrogen to see if they obey the same laws of physics has always been a key goal of antimatter research,” said Professor Jeffrey Hangst, spokesperson of the ALPHA collaboration.

The breakthrough is a result of 20 years of research from CERN's antimatter team, and came as a result of the scientists creating the antimatter in their lab, since it is notoriously difficult to come by naturally.

The study concluded that the long-held idea that antimatter is annihilated by normal matter is indeed correct, since antihydrogen atoms gave off the exact same light spectrum as regular hydrogen atoms.

The reason behind the universe not collapsing in on itself as part of a reaction between matter and antimatter is still unclear, but Hangst believes that there must be "some small asymmetry that led some of the matter to survive."  He just isn't sure what it is yet.

Source: Big Think

Tobias Wayland