The light spectrum of an antimatter atom was first observed, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) revealed.
According to a statement from the organization, of which Portugal is a part, the results obtained, published Monday in the journal Nature, “rely on technological innovations that open a completely new era in high precision research on antimatter” and “Comes to crown more than 20 years”, of research at CERN.
This is the first observation of a spectral ray on an antihydrogen atom, which “allows for the first time to compare the light spectrum of matter and antimatter”.
Justifying the importance of the result, CERN further notes that any measurable difference between the light spectra of a hydrogen atom (matter) and an anti-hydrogen atom (antimatter) can “by a cause the fundamental principles of physics”, and “to help understand the riddle of the imbalance between matter and the antimatter of the Universe”.
Hydrogen, a gas made up of a proton and an electron, is the “most abundant, simple and known” atom in the Universe. In contrast, the antihydrogen atoms are poorly understood.
To measure the light spectrum of anti-hydrogen, it is necessary to produce the anti-hydrogen constituents – antiprotons and positrons (antielectrons) – and put them together in atoms, CERN explained.
Atoms are formed by electrons in orbit from a nucleus. Since electrons travel from one orbit to another, they “absorb or emit light at specific wavelengths, which make up the spectrum of the atom”. Thus, each atom has its own spectrum of light.
“Using a laser to observe a transition in antihydrogen, then comparing the result with what happens to hydrogen, to see if the phenomenon obeys the same laws of physics, has always been an essential axis for research on antimatter”, Explained Jeffrey Hangst, ALPHA spokesman at CERN, an experiment that aims to capture and study the antihydrogen atoms and buy them with hydrogen atoms.
ALPHA is “a device capable of producing antihydrogen atoms and retaining them in a specially designed magnetic” trap “by manipulating them in small quantities.
The antihydrogen atoms, once captured, “can be studied by means of lasers and other sources of radiation”.
According to CERN, the possibility of measuring the light spectrum of the antihydrogen more accurately is “a new tool with extraordinary potential, which will allow to determine if the matter behaves differently from antimatter, Test the validity of the Standard Model” of particle physics, a theory that describes the particles and the forces that are exerted on them.
The Standard Model points to hydrogen and antihydrogen having identical spectroscopic characteristics.