Antimatter research at CERN turns up new vital clue

Apr 24, 2013
3

This week a new report has been published on the possibilities surrounding antimatter using clues provided by the Large Hadron Collider* at CERN. Within LHCb, one of seven such particle physics detector experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, decays of Bs mesons have been observed for the first time in history showing more matter particles than antimatter. This is significant because it may, eventually, lead science to understand the reason for our universe preferring matter as dominant over antimatter here in our present-day post-big-bang environment.

The LHCb experiment is, again, one of several being run at CERN with the Large Hadron Collider. If you do a simple search for Large Hadron Collider in the SlashGear archives, you'll find more information on CERN and the running of this machine than you could possibly know what to do with. Today's subject surrounds Antimatter specifically.

There are now four different major studies being run around the world regarding antimatter relating to the findings being reported this week. The first of these comes from the LHCb once again and sees quarks (fundamental to our universe) turning up excess amounts of matter in what's called CP violation. Another experiment at the LHCb that's since been questioned as mistaken showed some of the earliest hints of this CP violation situation in the particles known as D0 mesons all the way back in 2011.

A third set of experiments - also working with mesons, have shown CP violation in two of the four meson types that exist with no electric charge. The fourth is, again this newest showing with Bs mesons. Spokesperson for the UK contingent of the LHCb collaboration Chris Parkes of the University of Manchester spoke this week to the BBC to let it be known how significant this experiment truly is.

"If one decays more often to this final state... than the other one, then it shows a fundamental difference between matter and antimatter. That's what we've seen - a difference of about one in four of these decays.

However, the amount that we see is still compatible with the amount inside the Standard Model picture of particle physics, and this amount is just simply too small to explain why we're all here, and why everything is still made of matter - so the puzzle still continues." - Chris Parkes

The findings being shown this week are one in a line of what may eventually lead us to understand the fundamentals of the universe in a way that we've never before been able to grasp. For more information on why this is all worth the effort, be sure to hit up our recent article "here's why it was worth it" - and note that it's not the same experiment we've spoken about there, but the basic "why we spent this cash" reasons hold true!

*For those of you that've never heard of the Large Hadron Collider before, below you'll find an excellent presentation by Don Lincoln for TED Education which explains how an atom-smashing particle accelerator works - let us know if it makes sense!


Must Read Bits & Bytes