Nuclear scientists at CERN discover color of antimatter, hope to learn much more

For the first time in history, researchers at CERN have been able to examine the spectral structure of an antimatter antihydrogen atom in full glorious color. The work promises to help reveal the similarities and, if any, substantial differences between hydrogen and its antimatter counterpart. The hydrogen atom is the best understood and measured atomic system in the universe, offering a uniquely useful source of exploration for researchers interested in antimatter. It is hoped that the work will help shed crucial light on the origins of the universe.

For their study, the CERN (formally known as the European Organization for Nuclear Research) researchers analyzed approximately 15,000 atoms of antihydrogen, and carried out a range of frequency measurements using lasers. The results are the most precise measures made concerning antihydrogen in 30 years of research.

Antimatter particles are theorized to have the same mass as their regular counterparts, but the opposite charge. Instead of possessing a negatively charged electron, that means they have a positively charged positron. Any other potential differences between regular matter and antimatter could help fill scientists in on some fundamental questions about matter’s status in the universe.

“That would have been a huge story if we had,” Professor Jeffrey Hangst, who worked on the project, told Digital Trends, regarding whether or not any differences have been discovered so far. “But we’re still not at the same level of precision that hydrogen has. We have a factor of about 500 to go before we can say that, within the limits of our current capabilities, … hydrogen and antihydrogen are the same. But this is nonetheless significant. We’re doing what matter scientists call spectroscopy: we’re measuring the shape and spectral line in antimatter for the first time. That’s huge for us.”

Hangst explained that there is no realistic chance of being able to extend the work to look at other types of antimatter atom. “That’s not in the realm of what we know to be possible today,” he said. “Antihelium, which would be the next heaviest atom, is completely out of reach. In a probabilistic sense, we could never make enough of it to hold it and carry out spectroscopy. We’re not seriously discussing this. Even something like an isotope of hydrogen is something we don’t think we have a good hope of doing.”

Nonetheless, there is plenty more work to be done in analyzing antihydrogen atoms. In particular, Hangst said the plan is to further improve the resolution at which they are currently able to analyze antihydrogen.

A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal Nature.

Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft will collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu by shooting at it

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 will soon touch down on the asteroid Ryugu, where it will collect a sample by shooting a bullet into the soil. The sample will be returned to Earth in 2020 to learn about the formation of asteroids.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s space observatory will map the sky with unprecedented detail

NASA is preparing to launch a cutting-edge space observatory to create the most detailed map ever produced of the sky. Doing so will involve surveying hundreds of millions of galaxies. Here's how it plans to do it.
Emerging Tech

Chandra X-ray telescope uncovers evidence of the universe’s missing matter

Where is all of the matter in the universe? NASA's Chandra telescope has uncovered evidence of hot gas strands in the vicinity of a quasar which could explain the missing third of matter which has puzzled astronomers for years.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.
Emerging Tech

The Great White Shark’s genome has been decoded, and it could help us end cancer

In a significant step for marine and genetic science, researchers have decoded the genome of the great white shark. The genetic code revealed a wealth of insight into what makes these creatures so successful from an evolutionary standpoint.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

‘Guerrilla rainstorm’ warning system aims to prevent soakings, or worse

Japanese researchers have created a "guerrilla rainstorm" early-warning system aimed at preventing severe soakings, or worse. The team hopes to launch the system before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Emerging Tech

Hong Kong’s vision for a smart prison is a full-blown Orwellian nightmare

Hong Kong wants to bring prisons up to date by introducing new location-tracking wristbands for inmates, and a robot arm whose job is to comb through poop on the lookout for contraband.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.