The word anti-matter sparks our mind in the epoch of mysteries. Antimatter is an elusive twin of the ordinary matter. There’s an absolute visionary thought expressed by Warner Heisenberg -“I think that the discovery of antimatter perhaps the biggest jump of all the big jumps in physics in our century”. Those were the days when scientific community initiated to explore the fascinating concept i..e antimatter.

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Researchers predicted that during the Big Bang event, equal amounts of matter and antimatter might have been produced. We all are familiar with normal matter which we have studied and collected a wealth of information about matter. Matter has demonstrated and served as evidence for numerous phenomena in nature.

It all started by the equation of a famous physicist Paul Dirac who won the Nobel Prize in 1933 for his excellent research work on the development of quantum mechanics towards focusing the Dirac equation. The simple equation x2=4 .It just rolled a dice of two possibilities x =(2) and x =(-2). This further enhanced the curiosity to unlock the mystery of the universe. This was assumed as a single particle having two opposite charges or energies. For instance: an electron possesses both positive energy and negative energy. This unique thought began to acquire space in the minds of physicists.

According to the paul dirac, this idea lights-up by explaining that every particle in the universe corresponds to its anti particle form. It means same particle with opposite charges making them to represent single particle type in two versions. For instance: the antiparticle of electron is positron. In case of normal matter electron behaves as negative charge but in the window of antimatter, the electron possess positive charge which we call it as positron. For better understanding we can consider the above figure demonstrating the hydrogen atom and its anti atom.

Credit: BETTMANN/CORBIS and Nature

In September 2012, a Matter and antimatter in the universe research paper has been published. Looking at the conclusions revealed by the physicists tells us that still it remained a mysterious question about the origin of matter. Observations suggest that there is very little antimatter in the present-day universe, and the asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the early universe remains unexplained within the Standard Model. This imbalance provides evidence for physics beyond the Standard Model and is an active area of research known as baryogenesis. Baryogenesis is the study of how the amount of matter and anti matter in the universe is measured and understood through different methods and theoretical concepts. In simple words it is the measure of asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the universe. It’s fascinating to explore different theories and testable ideas to understand the origins of matter, dark matter, and neutrino oscillations.


But the curious part is that when matter and antimatter come in contact there undergo annihilation.

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It implies that when they come in close approach they destroy each other, converting their mass into energy. It’s like they cancel each other out, leaving behind only energy that was released during the process.

In March 2021, the researchers at CERN carried out a remarkable experiment where they applied laser cooling to antihydrogen atoms. This is simplest form of antimatter atom. This got succeeded with the amazing collaboration with ALPHA and was published in nature. The objective of this experiment was to delve into the internal structure of antihydrogen and gain valuable insights into its behavior. Currently the unique antiprotons producing machine Antiproton Decelerator (AD) which consists of lower energy is working to explore more fascinating antimatter properties. The AD is specifically designed to slowdown the antiprotons estimated around tenth of the speed of light.

Research hints that positronium exists for just 142 billionths of a second. However, it holds immense potential for generating vast amounts of energy. By shedding light on antimatter, which existed at the beginning of the Universe, studying Positronium could lead to groundbreaking advancements in physics, medical etc. Despite its elusive nature, CERN scientists have found a solution to analyze it by freezing it with lasers.

The study of antimatter not only fuels our curiosity about the origin of the universe but also could lead to revolutionary advancements in fields like medicine, energy production and space exploration.


Blog Written By

Kavya Chari

Astro-strategist content writer at Aeronautics and Space Exploration 


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