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Researchers propose method for measuring gravitational impact on antimatter

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Posted April 4, 2014
Researchers propose method for measuring gravitational impact on antimatter
Credit: Chukman So/ Physics
A team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, is proposing a possible way to measure gravity’s impact on antimatter atoms. In their paper published in Physical Review Letters, the team describes how a procedure using an interferometer and super-cooled antihydrogen atoms could theoretically reveal how antimatter reacts to the force of gravity.

Because antimatter is so scarce, little is known about its properties, including whether it responds to gravity in the same way as matter. In principle, testing whether antimatter responds the same way as everyday matter should be relatively straight forward—drop some of it and see if it falls down, or up, or does neither. That hasn’t happened yet for two reasons. The first is that antimatter is extremely rare—gathering enough to form a clump to drop has been impossible. The second reason is that antimatter is annihilated when coming into contact with matter, making it extremely difficult to collect, hold and perform experiments on. In this new effort the research team believes it has found a way to overcome both problems with an experiment that should reveal for the first time, how antimatter atoms respond to gravity.

Read more at: Phys.org

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