Antimatter


Antimatter corresponds to a rare form of matter that is composed of what is known as antiparticles, which represent the opposite of particles, maintaining the same mass, but their quantum characteristics are different, the most common disparity being the charge electrical. For example, an antiproton (negatively charged proton) or an antielectron (positively charged electron).

what is antimatter

Antimatter, as its name suggests, is the opposite of matter, that is, matter made up of particles with an electrical charge opposite to normal. When matter and antimatter come into contact, they cause the destruction of both, that is, a transformation would occur where matter would become energy.

Currently there is a large amount of information available in relation to antiparticles and their properties, as described in the antimatter book by Daniel Martín Reina entitled “Antimatter, the other side of the mirror”, in which points such as the Dirac equation, its usefulness as a source of energy, origin and production.

From the etymological point of view, it is composed of the prefix of Greek origin “anti” which means contrary and the Latin “matter”.

history of antimatter

Some relevant events related to antimatter and its uses are:

  1. The introduction of the term antiparticles dates back to 1928, with the creation of the Dirac equation, used in the description of elementary particles and antiparticles. The equation is the following.
  2. Antimatter - Dirac Equation

  3. In 1932, Carl Anderson discovered the first antiparticle, the positron or antielectron, by photographing fingerprints belonging to cosmic rays.
  4. In 1955 the antineutron and the antiproton were discovered by Segré and Chamberlain through the use of a particle accelerator, specifically the bevatron.
  5. The term antimatter in chemistry was properly described in 1965, with the creation of an antideuteron (a type of particle composed of the union of an antiproton and an antineutron) in parallel by Antonio Zichichi and Leon Lederman.
  6. In 1995 the European Organization for Nuclear Research published the finding of the creation of 10 antihydrogen particles.
  7. By 2011, through the well-known ALPHA project, the creation of more than 300 antihydrogen atoms was achieved.

Characteristics of antimatter

Antimatter - Antimatter Collider

Some representative features are:

Properties

Among the main properties we can mention:

  • The properties are the same as matter, that is, volume, mass, weight, porosity and inertia with the difference that it is composed of antiparticles.
  • According to cosmic theory, equal amounts of matter and antimatter are present in the universe, locked up in zones distant from each other.
  • When matter and antimatter meet, great phenomena of destruction take place.
  • In the field of physics, antiparticles are differentiated from particles by placing a horizontal line on top of the representative letter, example: electron (E) and antielectron (Ē).

Production

Regarding the production and costs of antimatter:

  • To achieve its production requires an enormous expenditure of energy.
  • Its storage is also complicated, usually covering only 1% of the total produced.
  • It is the most expensive product in the world, the price of antimatter is around 62 million US dollars per milligram.
  • Due to these high costs, institutions such as NASA prefer to invest in the storage of antimatter produced naturally on planet earth.

Preservation

The only way to preserve it is by using an ionic trap, represented by the combination of two fields, one electric and the other magnetic, this in the case of those that have charges.

Those that do not have charges are preserved in an atomic trap, which uses only magnetic energy.

antimatter applications

Antimatter - Applications of antimatter

Some uses of antimatter in various fields would be:

  • It can be used to generate energy, since it is one of the most powerful energy sources known to humanity, in addition to not being polluting; a simple drop is capable of producing (for one day) electrical energy for an entire city.
  • In the medical area, its main application is in “positron emission tomography”. The gamma rays that are derived from the annihilation of matter and antimatter are used to locate tumor tissues in the body. Similarly, antimatter and cancer are related because therapies are currently applied against this disease, with the intention of eliminating malignant tissues from the body.
  • Currently there are theories of the possible manufacture of weapons, such as the case of an antimatter bomb, which would be even more powerful than a nuclear bomb, however, the creation of these weapons is not yet possible due to the high cost of the product, as well as its difficulty to be handled.

Frequently Asked Questions about Antimatter

What is antimatter?

As its name indicates, it is the opposite of matter, represented by elements whose mass is equal to matter, but whose quantum properties, especially their charges, are opposite.

How much is a gram of antimatter worth?

One milligram costs around $62 million, so one gram should cost $62,000,000,000.

What happens when matter and antimatter meet?

Mutual annihilation occurs, which does not translate into total destruction, but into transformation into energy.

What are the properties of antimatter?

The properties are the same as those of matter, but in this case it is made up of so-called antiparticles, these properties are:

  • Volume.
  • Weight.
  • Porosity.
  • Dough.
  • Inertia.

How is antimatter produced?

Artificially it is produced through the ionization of matter, this causes the electrons to accelerate and form quantum energy (less amount of energy that can be formed or transmitted), which later decay forming both particles of matter and antiparticles.