Physicists have for the first time directly measured the gravitational mass of antimatter


02/05/2013

The research team from CERN, working with Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA), reported on the first direct measurement of the effects of the gravitational effect on the anti-matter - namely, the antihydrogen in free fall.

"The atoms of ordinary matter falling down, does that mean that the atoms of antimatter fall up? Does gravity to them the same effect as in ordinary atoms, or anti-gravity exists?".

"These issues have long been interested in physics," - said Joel Fadzhans, one of the co-authors published the results of this experiment article. "Because in the unlikely event that antimatter falls up, we would have to fundamentally rethink our views on the physics and operation of the universe."

Prior to this, all the evidence that gravity acts equally on both the mother and antimatter were obtained indirectly, so the researchers decided to use their current experiment ALPHA, slightly modifying it.

In the experiment, ALPHA, trapped antiprotons are combined with anti-electrons (positrons) to create antihydrogen atoms, which were kept for the study for several seconds in a magnetic trap. After that, the trap is turned off and the atoms fall. The researchers decided to analyze the process of falling out of the trap antihydrogen, to try to find differences on the behavior of hydrogen.

Because of anomalies in the behavior of antihydrogen were found, by their calculations, it can not be more than 110 times heavier than hydrogen, even though it is not clear which way antimatter falls.

The next version of the ALPHA experiment will further refine the results.

Original: Sci-news.com


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