Researchers measure the magnetic charge of antimatter

Brittany A. Roston - Mar 25, 2013, 7:12pm CDT
Researchers measure the magnetic charge of antimatter

A Harvard team of scientists led by physicist Gerald Gabrielse have announced that they’ve successfully performed the most exact magnetic charge measurement of matter and antimatter particles ever. Such a precise measurement not only helps scientist answer important questions, but also paves the way for even more accurate measurements in the future.

Presently, this latest measurement will help researchers determine why our universe is composed of matter, rather than antimatter, something that has not yet been solved. Current theories have it that the Big Bang made equal amounts of antimatter and matter, but now we’re left with matter versus antimatter. The reasons for this is unknown.

When matter and antimatter meet, they are annihilated. To keep this from happening during the experiements, the scientists suspended both antiprotons and protons using an electromagnetic field. During this, the researchers then measured the protons by means of their oscillations. The most significant result was the antiproton measurement, which is more accurate by a factor of 680.

Said the lead researcher, “What we wanted to do with these experiments was to say, “Let’s take a simple system — a single proton and a single antiproton — and let’s compare their predicted relationships, and see if our predictions are correct … I’m confident that, given this start, we’re going to be able to increase the accuracy of these measurements by another factor of 1,000, or even 10,000.”

[via Livescience]

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