According to theoretical predictions, the Big Bang produced the same amount of matter and antimatter. As they annihilate each other, physicists have been trying to figure out why the universe left only a relatively small number of normal substances - evolving galaxies, stars, planets and ultimately life - and antimatter disappeared .
Researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have been studying for decades how to make antimatter versions of the most basic atomic (hydrogen) species, and have been able to capture it for a long enough time to conduct relevant research.
In a recent paper in the journal Nature, CERN reports the results of experiments with anti-hydrogen atoms.When excited by a laser, the anti-hydrogen atoms produce the same light at the same UV frequency as the hydrogen atoms in the normal material world.
(CERN uses lasers) and then observes how much light they absorb and emit. Each atom has its own unique spectral line, which is the principle of spectroscopy. This is a tool commonly used in physics, chemistry, and even astronomy to determine the atomic composition of matter in a laboratory or even a distant galaxy.
According to Jeffrey Hangst, who led the study with the Anti-Hydrogen Laser Physics Project (ALPHA) from CERN,This is the first time a physicist has been able to control an anti-hydrogen atom long enough to directly measure its behavior and compare it to a conventional hydrogen atom.Scientists want to know whether matter and matter follow the same laws of physics, which has been a major objective of antimatter research.
Positive and negative hydrogen atom annihilation, the release of energy in the form of light
Because hydrogen is the richest element in the universe, it is easily annihilated with any possible anti-hydrogen atom, so in nature almost no anti-hydrogen atoms. Therefore, scientists need to synthetic anti-hydrogen atoms.
Hydrogen atoms are composed of a negatively charged electron and a positively charged proton, whereas the opposite hydrogen atom is composed of a positively charged electron and a negatively charged proton.
Over the past 20 years, the ALPHA team has been studying how to produce enough anti-hydrogen atoms, and finally through a technology to produce about 25,000 anti-hydrogen atoms every 15 minutes, and captured 14 of them.
These trapped anti-hydrogen atoms are then irradiated by a laser to force their positrons from a lower energy level to a higher energy level. When the positron returns to the lower energy level, the physicist can measure the amount of light released.
The team found that,By the same test, anti-hydrogen atoms emit light and ordinary hydrogen atoms are identical.
Anti-hydrogen laser physical device
For a long time, physicists believe that antimatter is a mirror image of matter. This new study agrees with the standard model of particle physics, which predicts that hydrogen atoms and anti-hydrogen atoms have the same luminescence characteristics, which is also required by Einstein's special theory of relativity.
Physicists say that explaining why the special theory of relativity requires a mirror image of antimatter and matter involves a lot of mathematics, but in short, if the mirror relationship is not precise enough, the basic idea behind special relativity is not entirely correct.
In addition, the existing Big Bang model would be flawed if the matter and antimatter were not mirrored, that is, the antimatter did not follow the same physical laws as the conventional matter. At least, the current situation is still no problem.