Researchers Want to Drop Some Antimatter Before the LHC Shuts Down

AlphaAtlas

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CERN is shutting down the Large Hadron Collider for some significant upgrades later this year. Before it goes offline, researchers are trying to squeeze in experiments to answer an important question: does antimatter fall? Antimatter is the opposite of regular matter in many ways, but physicists don't actually know it behaves the same as regular matter in a gravitational field. There are several independent experiments underway to tackle the question, but they all involve generating neutral antihydrogen, letting it go, and watching to see if it falls down or up.

Check out a video on the Alpha-g experiment here.

ALPHA-g is very similar to the ALPHA experiment, which makes neutral antihydrogen atoms by taking antiprotons from the Antiproton Decelerator (AD) and binding them with positrons from a sodium-22 source. ALPHA then confines the resulting neutral antihydrogen atoms in a magnetic trap and shines laser light or microwaves onto them to measure their internal structure. The ALPHA-g experiment has the same type of apparatus for making and trapping antiatoms, except that it is oriented vertically. With this vertical set-up, researchers can precisely measure the vertical positions at which the antihydrogen atoms annihilate with normal matter once they switch off the trap’s magnetic field and the atoms are under the sole influence of gravity. The values of these positions will allow them to measure the effect of gravity on the antiatoms. The GBAR experiment, also located in the AD hall, takes a different tack. It plans to use antiprotons supplied by the ELENA deceleration ring and positrons produced by a small linear accelerator to make antihydrogen ions, consisting of one antiproton and two positrons. Next, after trapping the antihydrogen ions and chilling them to an ultralow temperature (about 10 microkelvin), it will use laser light to strip them of one positron, turning them into neutral antiatoms. At this point, the neutral antiatoms will be released from the trap and allowed to fall from a height of 20 centimetres, during which the researchers will monitor their behaviour.
 

AlphaAtlas

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For some reason I thought we already knew antimatter behaves the same as matter with gravity...

Well if they find antimatter does behave differently that would be exciting

Edit: it's currently strongly believed antimatter will behave like matter but it has not been confirmed
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_interaction_of_antimatter

Yeah, they mentioned that everyone expects the antimatter to fall in the video. But they gotta confirm things experimentally, I suppose.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Let's hope they have containment under control :p

ShorttermNimbleImperatorangel-size_restricted.gif
 

kju1

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Yeah, they mentioned that everyone expects the antimatter to fall in the video. But they gotta confirm things experimentally, I suppose.

Well they wouldnt want to be accused of psuedoscience right? That being said it would be extremely cool if it "fell" up. Antigravity ftw?
 

pcgeekesq

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... they all involve generating neutral antihydrogen, letting it go, and watching to see if it falls down or up.
They're not "watching to see if it falls down or up."
They're watching to see "whether antimatter falls down at the same rate as ordinary matter or if it might behave differently."

Seriously, read at least the first paragraph before posting. It takes a few seconds, but saves a lot of embarrassment.
 

modi123

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It'll be fun when they find out the earth moves closer to the antimatter and not the other way around.
 

The Mad Atheist

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I really like to see some freaky shit go down like in Stephen King's, The Mist, THAT WOULD BE SWEET!
But at last I doubt that will ever happen...... :(
 
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I don't think I would be smart enough to turn on a light in the LHC. I listened to a CERN physicist TEDx talk where they went into mid level detail and I just felt stupid.
 

Dead Parrot

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I hope it just hangs there. Kinda fun when physicists utter something along the lines of "Gee, that's weird!". But up would be cool as well.
 

DeathFromBelow

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They're not "watching to see if it falls down or up."
They're watching to see "whether antimatter falls down at the same rate as ordinary matter or if it might behave differently."

Seriously, read at least the first paragraph before posting. It takes a few seconds, but saves a lot of embarrassment.

Whats with the hostility? Read your own post. 'Behave differently' includes the possibility of observing 'anti-gravity' effects. They expect it to fall, but there haven't been any conclusive experiments yet.
 

clockdogg

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Dropped some anti-matter once. Then woke up and the decade was over. Want them to generate some anti-time so I can get that decade back.
 

RealBeast

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I don't think I would be smart enough to turn on a light in the LHC. I listened to a CERN physicist TEDx talk where they went into mid level detail and I just felt stupid.
It's not about smart, it's about focus -- LHC and physics are his life. He'd probably struggle to do oh, say brain surgery or plumbing.
 

bbqrooster

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They're not "watching to see if it falls down or up."
They're watching to see "whether antimatter falls down at the same rate as ordinary matter or if it might behave differently."

Seriously, read at least the first paragraph before posting. It takes a few seconds, but saves a lot of embarrassment.

So you read the 1st paragraph and then started accusing people posting incorrectly. The joke is on you. If you read the whole article and watched the video, you'll know that the 1st experiment is to determine if the neutral hydrogen will fall down or fall up. Future experiment is to determine if the gravitational pull is the same for matter and anti-matter. Please don't embarrass yourself.
 

velusip

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Not long ago the understanding of particles and physics was done by single individuals in their home lab. By the looks of their experiment, it's getting a bit more tricky.
 

kju1

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I don't think I would be smart enough to turn on a light in the LHC. I listened to a CERN physicist TEDx talk where they went into mid level detail and I just felt stupid.

Dont underestimate yourself. I am sure it has a big red button or two ;) But seriously its probably mostly automated.
 
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