Scientists have successfully trapped and stored antihydrogen atoms for 16 minutes which is the all-time record according to European researchers at Large Hadron Collider.
The CERN team, writing in the journal Nature, says the ability to study such antimatter atoms will allow previously impossible tests of fundamental laws of physics. This will enable scientists to have deeper insights into the mysteries of antimatter.
We've trapped antihydrogen atoms for as long as 1,000 seconds, which is forever in the world of high-energy particle physics, said Joel Fajans, a University of California, Berkeley professor of physics who is a faculty scientist at California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a member of the ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus) experiment at CERN.
In particle physics, antimatter is the extension of the concept of the antiparticle to matter, where antimatter is composed of antiparticles in the same way that normal matter is composed of particles.
Trapping antimatter was always known to be very hard, because when it comes into contact with matter, the two wipe out each other.
The asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the visible universe was one of the greatest unsolved problems in physics.
This progress will now give scientists a greater possibility to solve the problem.
American scientist Jeffrey Hangst, a spokesman for the Aarhus University in Denmark said the team has already trapped about 300 antihydrogen atoms. The more they trap, the easier it is to conduct experiments on antihydrogen.
This is a big step in demonstrating what we can do and where we can go, he said.
The next logical step will be to produce more of the atoms and hold them longer in order to study them more closely. What we'd like to do is see if there's some difference that we don't understand yet between matter and antimatter, said Jeff Hangs.
The study was published in the journal Nature Physics: Confinement of antihydrogen for 1,000 seconds.