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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Antihydrogen for 1000 seconds

(a) A schematic view of the ALPHA trap. Penning trap electrodes are held at ~9 K, and have an inner diameter of 44.5 mm. A three-layer silicon vertex detector surrounds the magnets and the cryostat. A 1 T base field is provided by an external solenoid (not shown). An antiproton beam is introduced from the right, while positrons from an accumulator are brought in from the left. (b) The magnetic field strength in the y-z plane (z is along the trap axis, with z=0 at the centre of the magnetic trap). Green dashed lines in this and other figures depict the location of the inner walls of the electrodes. (c) The axial field profile, with an effective trap length of ~270 mm. (d) The field strength in the x-y plane. (e) The field strength profile along the x-axis. Image credit: ArXiv paper
CERN scientists confine antihydrogen atoms for 1000 seconds
( -- Seventeen minutes may not seem like much, but to physicists working on the Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA) project at the CERN physics complex near Geneva, 1000 seconds is nearly four orders of magnitude better than has ever been achieved before in capturing and holding onto antimatter atoms. In a paper published in arXiv, a team of researchers studying the properties of antimatter, describe a process whereby they were able to confine antihydrogen atoms for just that long, paving the way for new experiments that could demonstrate properties of antimatter that until now, have been largely speculation.
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