Scientists Building Largest Antimatter Trap Ever

February 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Science News | Leave a comment

Live Science is reporting on their web site that a team of physicists at the University of California at San Diego, led by physicist Clifford Surko, are building the world’s largest electromagnetic trap for low energy positrons. The hope is that once the device is completed it will be able to hold several trillion antimatter particles. This would be a vast improvement in the current storage capabilities of the exotic particles.

"If this goes wrong we'll never know about it lads."

Antimatter having long been a staple in science fiction works, I thought it warranted mentioning on this blog. If memory serves me, Stephen Hawking discussed antimatter at length in his pop-physics classic A Brief History of Time. Antimatter is a positively charged electron, otherwise known as a positron. When a positron and an electron come into direct contact they annihilate each other. The result is a release of energy that is much larger that the sum of the energy in the combined particles. For this reason the potential for generating massive amounts of energy in a relatively small space has intrigued physicists and science fiction writers for decades. It is widely believed in the scientific community that harnessing the energy potential in antimatter will be vital to producing the energy necessary to further explore our solar system and our galactic neighborhood.

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