Thursday, May 05, 2011

309 Antihydrogen Trapped for 1000 Seconds

This made the news at least a week ago, but only now has the story appeared on PhysicsWorld, so here it is.

The ALPHA team produced the antihydrogen by merging two clouds of cold plasmas: one containing positrons and the other antiprotons. By improving their trapping techniques, the researchers managed to hold the antihydrogen for more than 1000 s. These advances also meant that five times as many atoms were trapped per attempt. Calculations based on data from the experiment suggest that after about 0.5 s, most of the trapped antihydrogen atoms reach their lowest energy or ground state. As a result, the team says that its trapped sample is the first antihydrogen obtained in the ground state.

As in this group's earlier attempt, this is such an amazing accomplishment. The fact that they can hold these that long opens up a whole slew of tests that one can conducts on very fundamental aspects of physics. So this isn't just an astounding accomplishment, but also a tool to investigate other things. That is why this is so important.


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