A research team such as CERN has developed a laser cooling device that captures antimatter, and research on antimatter has taken a leap forward.

It has been said that 'antimatter, ' which is being researched to unravel the mystery of the origin of the universe, is difficult to capture and accurately observe because it moves too fast. However, a new research group at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has announced that it has succeeded in capturing antihydrogen atoms by slowing them more than 10 times using laser cooling. It is believed that this device will allow us to more accurately understand the difference between matter and antimatter.

Laser cooling of antihydrogen atoms | Nature

ALPHA cools antimatter using laser light for the first time | CERN

Antimatter atoms can be precisely manipulated and cooled with lasers | New Scientist

Physicists give antimatter the chills | Ars Technica

According to the laws of physics, there are antiparticles in the world that are paired with particles . Antiparticles are particles that have the same 'mass' and 'spin' as elementary particles and have opposite positive and negative attributes such as electric charge. However, although antiparticles exist, it is difficult to confirm because they are associated with the particles and disappear at the moment of birth.

Since the universe and the world are made of 'matter' composed of particles, the substance composed of antiparticles is called 'antimatter'. Knowing the difference between matter and antimatter is one of the fields that has been attracting attention for many years as a basis for the origin of the universe. From this perspective, CERN's research team has continued to develop special devices for capturing antimatter.

And according to a paper published in Nature on March 31, 2021, a device was developed that can capture and observe antimatter by cooling the atoms of antimatter to absolute zero.

Antimatter also occurs on the earth due to phenomena such as radioactive decay. However, antimatter has a problem that it is very difficult to catch because it has a large amount of energy and moves very quickly. It is technically possible to capture antimatter and make a rough measurement, but due to its fast-moving nature, it is said that an error will occur if you try to observe it closely.

Therefore, it was decided to develop a 'device that slows down antimatter'. About 40 years ago, a laser cooling device that uses photons to slow down the movement of atoms was already developed, and it seems that this technology was also applied to this device.

ALPHA, a research group at CERN, conducted experiments using antihydrogen atoms. Antihydrogen atoms usually move at 90 meters per second, but by irradiating a laser with an appropriate wavelength, the atoms were cooled and a slight deceleration was seen. The research team says that by repeating this irradiation, they finally succeeded in slowing down the anti-atoms by more than 10 times.

Makoto Fujiwara of the Canadian TRIUMF Institute, who participated in the study, said, 'This is like shooting a ball at an atom. Because the ball is so small, the deceleration due to a collision is small, but it repeats many times. Eventually there will be a big slowdown. '

According to the paper, the cooled and slower antihydrogen enabled much more accurate measurements than ever before. Researchers believe that the development of this device will be a milestone and that in the future it may reveal subtle differences between matter and antimatter.

in Science, Posted by darkhorse_log