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Antimatter Light Spectrum Observed For The First Time

21 December 2016, 5:19 am EST By Kalyan Kumar Tech Times
Measuring antihydrogen spectrum with high-precision system for comparing and validating with matter’s behavior has been a success. The breakthrough also ratified the robustness of Standard Model for particle Physics.   ( Maximilien Brice /CERN )

A group of researchers who are antimatter enthusiasts has claimed big success in measuring antimatter atom on the optical spectrum by triggering hope that the breakthrough can fast track high-precision antimatter research.

The labor of 20 years by the CERN antimatter community was borne by the results that testified the Standard Model in Physics.

"Using a laser to observe a transition in anti-hydrogen and comparing it to hydrogen to see if they obey the same laws of physics has always been a key goal of antimatter research," said Jeffrey Hangst, Spokesperson of the ALPHA collaboration.

The study was published in Nature.

Significance Of Study

The Alpha experiment was the first ever observation of a spectral line of an antihydrogen atom and comparing that with the light spectrum of matter and benchmarking against the current theories.

The inference is that no drastic difference exists vis a vis spectral line of anti-hydrogen and hydrogen and it is in sync with the models of particle physics.

The Standard Model describes particles and the forces acting on them, and insists hydrogen and anti-hydrogen have identical spectroscopic characteristics.

Grand Experiment

ALPHA made gains at CERN's Antiproton Decelerator facility by producing anti-hydrogen atoms and in detaining them in specially-designed magnetic traps and manipulating a few anti-atoms.

Detaining anti-hydrogen atoms also allowed laser-based studies and other radiation options.

The observation of the 1S-2S transition in magnetically trapped atoms of anti-hydrogen at CERN's ALPHA-2 apparatus has been consistent with what was expected of hydrogen in the same environment.

The precision of the measurements also spoke of the uptick in improvements made by ALPHA collaboration in measuring the anti-hydrogen spectrum. As a new tool in testing both matter and antimatter, it became a trendsetter. The secondary objective to understand the robustness of the Standard Model from the experiment also was successful.

Focus On Hydrogen

Regarding the choice of anti-hydrogen, the researchers point to the high importance accorded to the hydrogen atom in the past two centuries as a hall mark of the progress in fundamental physics.

The examples are numerous — solar spectrum studies by Fraunhofer; transition lines by Balmer; description of wavelengths by Rydberg; quantum model of Bohr; quantum electrodynamics; and 1S-2S transition.

Those feats naturally brought focus on antihydrogen — the antimatter equivalent of hydrogen.

Despite Standard Model saying there should be equal amounts of matter and antimatter in the Universe after the Big Bang, the very fact that ordinary matter dominates the universe has challenged physicists to study antimatter in assessing whether a small inconsistency in laws of physics is playing out when it comes to two types of matter.

The CPT Theorem under Standard Model on charge conjugation, parity reversal, time reversal also requires hydrogen and anti-hydrogen to have similar spectrum.

What makes the study special is that laser excitation of the antimatter was achieved in a highly precise measurement system.

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