Scientists made a huge antimatter breakthrough that could shed light on what happened back during the Big Bang.
Scientists at CERN’s Antihydrogen Laser Physics Appartus (ALPHA) in Switzerland have just scored a major breakthrough by beaming a laser on to particles of antihydrogen, which is a counterpart to normal hydrogen. The experiment helps to determine whether light behaves the same way for both materials.
It’s difficult to study antihydrogen, as scientists have been unable to keep it stable enough to conduct a direct study without it suddenly disappearing due to contact with ordinary matter. Because antimatter is the opposite of matter, its electrons have a positive charge, and the Standard Model of physics holds that similarly every aspect of antimatter should be opposite to regular matter. But the problem with this theory is that during the Big Bang, matter and antimatter would have been created in equal quantities and therefore destroyed each other, indicating that there must be some difference that gives matter the edge, and the experiment will hopefully shed light on that, according to a Swansea University statement.
Researchers at ALPHA managed to create antihydrogen and then hold it in a vacuum with a strong magnetic field, achieving this for 16 minutes.
Professor Mike Charlton said in the statement: “The existence of antimatter is well established in physics, and it is buried deep in the heart of some of the most successful theories ever developed. But we have yet to answer a central question of why didn’t matter and antimatter, which it is believed were created in equal amounts when the Big Bang started the Universe, mutually self-annihilate?
“We also have yet to address why there is any matter left in the Universe at all. This conundrum is one of the central open questions in fundamental science, and one way to search for the answer is to bring the power of precision atomic physics to bear upon antimatter.”