Anti-Matter Successfully Trapped in Lab

Updated

Antimatter is that science fiction Macguffin that powers starships and blows up galaxies. While science has proven the existence of these mirror-universe particles, we've only managed to get them to exist for a microsecond before they end up colliding with regular atoms and going Michael Bay on us. That is, until now.

Researchers at CERN's Geneva labs have managed to trap a sizeable amount of antihydrogen. What makes the endeavor more impressive is the fact that hydrogen, being a neutral particle, isn't affected by the magnetic traps scientists usually use to keep the volatile molecules in check. The CERN researchers circumvented this conundrum by a steeply increasing "magnetic mirror" that reflects them back into the center of the containment chamber.

So far, the process isn't what you'd call efficient: the CERN team managed to capture 38 antihydrogen atoms out of 335 cycles of antiproton injection, the method used to create the explosive particles. And while the antimatter survives a lot longer than normal, at a fraction of a second, it's still not enough to power your interstellar spacecraft. Sorry guys, guess we'll have to wait until dilithium crystals are discovered.

[source: Eurekalert via Popular Science]