For the first time, researchers manipulate antimatter using lasers

For the first time, researchers manipulate antimatter using lasers

The ALPHA collaborator at CERN announced that they had successfully cooled the antimatter sample to absolute zero with the Canadian laser system, an unprecedented achievement that would radically change the image of antimatter research, in particular, opening the way for more accurate research into the internal structure of the anti-hydrogen and its behaviour under the influence of gravity.

ALPHA is designed to capture antimatter in the form of anti-hydrogen.

Because they annigilize in contact with the substance, antimatter atoms are extremely difficult to create and control and have never been manipulated with a laser before."

By comparing these measurements with those of a well-known hydrogen atom, you can tell the difference between the atoms of a substance and antimatter. These differences can in themselves help solve the mystery of the asymmetries of matter and antimatter in the universe, which is contrary to what Big Bang models predict.

Refrigeration to reduce kinetic energy

How does antimatter react to gravity? Can antimatter help us understand symmetry in physics?"

The ALPHA association produces anti-algae atoms by collecting antiproton antiprotons from the CERN antiproton retardant and linking them to the sodium Na-22 positrones. These atoms are then captured by a magnetic trap that prevents them from contacting the substance and from annexing. Once the atoms are trapped, scientists can perform spectroscopic analysis that measures the antiatom response to electromagnetic radiation.

These tests allowed the ALPHA command to measure with unprecedented accuracy the spectral form and frequency of the electronic transition of 1s-2s in the anti-hydrogen atom.

Anti-atoms are close to absolute zero.

The laser-cooling technique is a way of circumventing these limitations. With this technique, laser photons are absorbed by antiatoms, which then become more energy-intensive. Then the antiatoms emit photons and spontaneously return to their main state; it is the repetition of this absorption-radiation cycle that results in the "cooling" of the antiatoms and gradually restricts their movement.

In this new study, the ALPHA team managed to cool down a sample of anti-algae atoms trapped in a magnetic trap. On several occasions, within a few hours, the anti-atoms were transferred from the lowest energy level, thanks to a laser beam pulsing at a slightly lower frequency than the transition between the two states. The result was that a large number of antiatoms reached energy below the microelectronic volt, which is equivalent to approximately 0.012 °C above absolute temperature zero.

After cooling the antiatoms, researchers noticed that the spectrum line corresponding to the 1s-2s transition was four times more than the one observed without the use of laser cooling! "

The laser manipulation of antimatter really opens the way to a lot of advanced physical innovation. Momose and Fujiwara are now leading a new Canadian project called HAICU to develop new quantum antimatter research techniques."