Antihydrogen is rare in our part of the Universe. Indeed, it was only last year that scientists at CERN’s Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA) managed to trap a significant amount of the stuff for the first time, albeit only 38 antiatoms for just 172 milliseconds.
Today, they announce a significant improvement. These guys now say they’ve trapped 309 antihydrogen atoms for up to 1000 seconds. That’s an increase in trapping time of four orders of magnitude, comparable to what’s possible with good old ordinary matter.
The news is significant because it makes possible a new set of experiments that should answer some important questions.
Most important of these is whether ordinary gravity attracts or repels antimatter. In other words, does antihydrogen fall up or down?
Although there have been many attempts to do this experiment, all have been inconclusive because nobody has been able to trap a good lump of antimatter for long enough to try.
All that should soon change. The ALPHA team now plans to cool a small lump of antihydrogen and then watch it as it falls (or rises). Which means physicists should have their answer within months.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1104.4982: Confinement Of Antihydrogen For 1000 Seconds
You can now follow the Physics arXiv Blog on Twitter
10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024
Every year, we look for promising technologies poised to have a real impact on the world. Here are the advances that we think matter most right now.
The worst technology failures of 2023
The Titan submersible, lab-grown chicken, and GM’s wayward Cruise robotaxis made our annual list of the worst in tech.
AI for everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024
Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.
Scientists are finding signals of long covid in blood. They could lead to new treatments.
Faults in a certain part of the immune system might be at the root of some long covid cases, new research suggests.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.