Physicists at CERN have observed the light emitted from antimatter for the first time, bringing us one step closer to unraveling one of the longest-standing problems in physics today – why is it that regular matter is so much more abundant than antimatter in the Universe?

Standard models suggest that for every particle of matter created in the Big Bang, an antiparticle was also created. Antiparticles are identical to their regular-particle counterparts in every sense except one – they possess an opposite charge. But because of this property, if an antiparticle comes in contact with a regular particle, the two particles annihilate. And so scientists are puzzled by this apparent asymmetry in the Universe today. At some point very early on in the history of our Universe, something must have happened to tip the scale in favor of regular matter, leaving antimatter virtually undetectable.

Because of this overabundance of regular matter, observing naturally occurring antimatter is difficult, since it will quickly come into contact with regular matter and annihilate. Instead, scientists at CERN devised a way to create antimatter in the lab, producing up to 25,000 antihydrogen atoms in less than 15 minutes, and trapping roughly 14 of them. Shining a high intensity laser beam on the antihydrogen particles, scientists observed the light emitted as a positron (a positively charged electron) within the antihydrogen jumped from one energy level to the next, stimulated by the laser light. The signature of the light emitted – or its spectrum – matched exactly the spectrum emitted by a regular hydrogen particle, confirming our standard model of particle physics and even Einstein’s theory of special relativity.

Nevertheless, future experiments with greater precision will be needed in order to confirm whether the emission and absorption of light by antimatter mirrors that of regular matter precisely, or whether our standard model requires tweaking. Until then, we remain only one step closer to understanding the elusive nature of antimatter.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Andy Greenspon, a Ph.D. candidate in Applied Physics at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, for his helpful knowledge on the subject.

Managing Correspondent: Tarraneh Eftekhari

Scientific Paper: Observation of the 1S–2S transition in trapped antihydrogenNature

Media Coverage: Physicists have observed the light spectrum of antimatter for first time – Science Alert

7 thoughts on “Scientists observe light from antimatter for the first time

  1. What is Anti-Matter ?
    What makes you so sure that they annihilate ?
    And if they annihilate, does energy get released, is there a byproduct, or do they just “vanish”. But they can’t vanish, matter can’t be created or destroyed.
    Also, why would opposite charges annihilate, why are you so sure, Don’t opposite charges attract ?
    Furthermore, everything has 2 charges. An electron is negatively charged, but it is also slightly positive. So, does this hold for Anti-matter ?
    Also, how you said you made 25K anti-matter hydrogens, how do you do that ?

    I am 14, so explain clearly.

  2. i think that antimatter does not exist in the nature.then as it exist not in the univers e,the antiparticles are generated by the asymmetry of the spacetime,as seen by the STR occur the time dilation and the contraction of the space.Then the universe have a torsion for left handed and other for right handed,breaking partially the rotational invariance.,Given by the asymmetry of cp mathematically.the spin of particles travelling forward in time whether transform in the reversion of the spin ,travelling backward in time,nos.are the antiparticles,that are generated due the non conservation partial From transformations of energy into mass and vice-versa for particles travelling with Relativístic Speeds.then the antiparticles are “holes” of concentred locally energy.then the two opposed lines( (with left handed spin ) and ( right handed spin) are connected and generate the variable spacetime with the increasing of speed.Therefore the junction of space and time into spacetime continuos.Then PT symmetry breaking generating the Constancy of speed of light,só as does appear the antiparticles due the symmetry of the spacetime continuum into the four dimension generated by the connection of asymmetry of left handed spins and right handed spins in rotations From left handed to right handed and vice-versa in a spacetime superspace

  3. Prof Prem raj Pushpakaran writes — 2020 marks the 100th birth year of Owen Chamberlain who discovered anti-proton!!!

  4. There is a reasonable expectation that the light particles escape to the known forces of nature including the anti-matter.

    The big universe is gathering almost 17468.484848 universes made up with ordinary matter and 17203.636364 universes made up with anti-matter.

    The ordinary matter mass density of the big universe is 50.25 times greater than that of the observable universe.

    That is the ordinary matter mass density of the big universe is equal to:

    rau = 50.25 x 0.05 x 10^-29 gcm^-3 = 2.512 x 10^-29 gcm^-3

    The evidence for the existence of the anti-matter in the big universe follows from this equation:

    (M + M’) / m = R / r = 7.03

    M = 1.517 x 10^53 kg is the ordinary matter mass in the big universe; M’ = – 1.494 x 10^53 kg is the anti-matter in the big universe; m = 0.33 x 10^51 kg is the ordinary matter mass in the observable universe, R = 1.125 x 10^26 m is the radius of the big universe, and r = 0.16 x 10^26 m is the radius of the observable universe (or the Hubble radius).

    1. It is found that the negative mass mentioned in my comment corresponds to the negative potential energy since the energy of photons and the central matter mass are anticorrelated.

      That is the escape velocity of light travelling from low to high potential energy provided the central matter mass decreased by the potential energy.

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