CERN Researchers Trap Anti-Hydrogen Molecules For the First Time

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 13:22 in Physics & Chemistry

An Octupole Magnet Used to Trap Antihydrogen Katie Bertsche While CERN researchers at the Large Hadron Collider continue to smash protons, create mini Big Bangs, and otherwise probe the fundamental fabrics that make up the universe, other less-publicized CERN experiments are yielding big results as well. A team of researchers working at CERN's Geneva labs has succeeded in trapping antihydrogen atoms - the antimatter equivalent to hydrogen - for the first time. Antihydrogen has been created in the lab before - at CERN actually, back in 2002 - but those atoms existed for just a few fleeting microseconds before doing what antimatter does best: colliding with normal matter (in this case hydrogen atoms) and, in a flash of gamma rays, ceasing to exist. The ability to trap them could lead to range of antimatter experiments that could explain just exactly why antimatter - created in equal parts as normal matter...

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