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Antimatter trapped for about 1000 seconds … a first

An antihydrogen atom is released from the trap after 1,000 seconds, in an artist's conception. The squiggly line represents the atom's path in the trap while it is trapped, and the curved tracks emerging represent the energy produced when the released anti-atom hits the inner wall of the trap.

antimatter particle released (artist's conception) - CERN/ALPHA

In “Antimatter atoms trapped for 16 minutes” Emily Chung reports (CBC News, June 6, 2011),

The scientists’ recent achievement has extended the experimental lifetime of antihydrogen atoms 5,000-fold since the ALPHA experiment — an international collaboration Fujiwara is part of — first figured out how to trap them at all.

This is, scientists say, enough time to make serious study feasible. When antimatter was first trapped, it could be held for less than one-fifth of a second. One proposal:

… researchers can point lasers and microwaves at the antiatoms and figure out how the colours of light they shine back compare to those shone back by hydrogen atoms under the same circumstances, Fujiwara said.

Guesses as to how that’ll turn out?

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