A new study that was conducted at CERN in Geneva has given us the most accurate measurement of antimatter that has been taken so far, and has revealed its structure in what has been called “unprecedented color.”
At the creation of our universe, matter and antimatter were both completely equal, yet this is not the case today. The fact that antimatter is so rare now is something that has perplexed scientists, who have been searching for the reason why our universe now consists mainly of matter. CERN’s new research on the color of matter seeks to understand why there appears to be some kind of preference of matter over antimatter, and has shown that antimatter actually looks very much like matter, as Motherboard report.
CERN’s new research was undertaken by the ALPHA team who have been busy studying antihydrogen. As hydrogen has already been so thoroughly analyzed, the belief was that this would be an excellent place for ALPHA to start, especially considering the fact that in 2010 they managed to take cold antihydrogen atoms and trap them, which was a first in science.
In the latest study, an Antiproton Decelerator was used so that scientists could obtain antihydrogen. With the help of the Antiproton Decelerator, they were able to create antiprotons, which they then used so that they could be mixed with positrons. Working with antihydrogen is actually quite difficult, and involves employing a magnetic trap so that the antihydrogen remains inside while scientists can accumulate their data and take measurements with the aim of a laser beam.
While CERN has previously conducted tests which are very similar to the newest one, the biggest change now is that the ALPHA team’s precision is so greatly enhanced that when compared with their previous work in 2016, the newest measurements have improved by an astonishing factor of 100, according to a press release by CERN.
“The precision achieved in the latest study is the ultimate accomplishment for us. We have been trying to achieve this precision for 30 years and have finally done it.”
Excitingly for scientists, during the newest study, they were finally able to measure the color of antihydrogen during not only the state where it was at its lowest energy but also during its excited state, as York University in Toronto’s Professor Scott Menary explained.
“This particular measurement in hydrogen is the most precisely measured quantity in physics. It’s measured to 15 decimal places. In the recent paper we got it to 12 decimal places.”
For the moment, it appears as though hydrogen and antihydrogen still look very similar and that no differences have been detected. However, as further experiments are conducted it is hoped that soon even the smallest of differences will be observed.
The latest study conducted at CERN on the color of antimatter has been published in the journal Nature.