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posted by janrinok on Thursday November 14 2019, @07:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the nothing-to-it? dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Could the mysteries of antimatter and dark matter be linked?

Could the profound mysteries of antimatter and dark matter be linked? Thinking that they might be, scientists from the international BASE collaboration, led by Stefan Ulmer of the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research, and collaborators have performed the first laboratory experiments to determine whether a slightly different way in which matter and antimatter interact with dark matter might be a key to solving both mysteries.

Dark matter and antimatter are both vexing problems for physicists trying to understand how our world works at a fundamental level.

The problem with antimatter is that though the Big Bang should have created equal amounts of matter and antimatter, the observable universe is made only of matter. Antimatter is created every day in experiments and by natural processes such as lightning, but it is quickly annihilated in collisions with regular matter. Predictions show that our understanding of the matter content of the universe is off by nine orders of magnitude, and no one knows why the asymmetry exists.

[...] The BASE group collaborators wondered whether the lack of antimatter might be because it interacts differently with dark matter, and set out to test this. For the experiment, they used a specially designed device, called a Penning trap, to magnetically trap a single antiproton, preventing it from contacting ordinary matter and being annihilated. They then measured a property of the antiproton called its spin precession frequency. Normally, this should be constant in a given magnetic field, and a modulation of this frequency could be accounted for by an effect mediated by axion-like particles, which are hypothesized dark matter candidates.

First author of the study, Christian Smorra, says, "For the first time, we have explicitly searched for an interaction between dark matter and antimatter, and though we did not find a difference, we set a new upper limit for the potential interaction between dark matter and antimatter."

More information: Direct limits on the interaction of antiprotons with axion-like dark matter, Nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1727-9 , https://nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1727-9


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  • (Score: 1) by anubi on Friday November 15 2019, @12:16AM (2 children)

    by anubi (2828) on Friday November 15 2019, @12:16AM (#920553) Journal

    Does antimatter exhibit the same Spectra as it's matter counterpart?

    Is there a such thing as anti photons?

    How do we know an adjacent star system or Galaxy is not antimatter?

    Do we really know supernovae are not unfortunate encounters between matters of opposite sex?

    I am not a physicist. These may be really dumb questions.

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Friday November 15 2019, @02:32AM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Friday November 15 2019, @02:32AM (#920591)

    unfortunate encounters between matters of opposite sex?

    You know sex isn't meant to cause explosions?

    ...Or were you referring to arguements? Carry on.

    --
    Books are a poor substitute for female companionship, but they are easier to find. P Rothfuss “The Wise Man's Fear"
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by maxwell demon on Friday November 15 2019, @07:18AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Friday November 15 2019, @07:18AM (#920629) Journal

    Does antimatter exhibit the same Spectra as it's matter counterpart?

    As far as we can tell, yes. It has been measured for hydrogen/antihydrogen.

    Is there a such thing as anti photons?

    I guess it's a matter of definition: Photons are their own antiparticles.

    How do we know an adjacent star system or Galaxy is not antimatter?

    When matter and antimatter come together, they annihilate, and that gives characteristic radiation. And while the space between galaxies is pretty empty, it's still not completely empty, so there should be some matter-antimatter collisions. But none have been observed.

    Do we really know supernovae are not unfortunate encounters between matters of opposite sex?

    I would guess so. We usually know the stars that went supernova. And we can observe quite well what happens. And if it were matter-antimatter annihilation, that would give quite characteristic signatures in the emitted radiation. Had any of that been observed, I'm sure it would have made headlines.

    I am not a physicist. These may be really dumb questions.

    Those are not dumb questions. Dumb questions are those where you should be able to figure out the answer by just thinking about it. None of the questions you asked are of that type.

    Indeed, if the first question (antimatter spectrum) were dumb, the scientists would surely not have succeeded in getting money for performing expensive experiments to check exactly this.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.