CERN builds a special container for storing and transporting antimatter

CERN builds a special container for storing and transporting antimatter

CERN Research Center on antimatter storage and transport routes Works The goal is to better study the “antiproton” and gain more information about the nature of the universe.

Antimatter is one of the greatest cosmic mysteries, whose existence was confirmed in the middle of the twentieth century. While antimatter particles use the same mass as their counterparts, they have opposite charges, and we also see quantum differences between them. When matter and antimatter collide, they are both destroyed by gamma-ray radiation and neutrinos.

Such a reaction raises a big question for scientists. According to the standard theory of how the universe is formed, we must deal with equal amounts of matter and antimatter. If that were true, then either there would have to be no universe or we would have to deal with a lot of gamma rays in space. Nevertheless, antimatter is extremely scarce, so what happened to it?

Answering such questions can determine the nature and history of the universe, which is why scientists are looking for more information about antimatter and antiproton. The antiproton is almost the same as the proton, but has a different charge.

At the CERN center, antiprotons are produced by emitting a proton beam from a laboratory proton synchrotron to a metal target that has tremendous energy. Therefore, to study them, one must first reduce their speed or lower the temperature. However, more needs to be done, and CERN researchers are using the ultra-low-energy antiproton machine (ELENA).

Even if antiprotons can be produced at the center of CERN and their temperature reduced, there is another problem: How can they be studied? The factory magnetic medium has a lot of noise for sensitive experiments, so the antiprotons must be stored in a container and transferred to another medium. The construction of such a chamber has its own challenges.

Despite the challenges, the research center wants to build such a chamber, which is why the center’s research team has given the green light to conduct two experiments called “BASE-STEP” and “PUMA”. These tests should lead to the development of stable and compact containers for transporting antimatter inside small trucks.

The two experiments combine to produce a unit, one of which is responsible for trapping and releasing antiprotons and the other for storing them.

BASE-STEP is a special trap inside a superconducting magnet that is amplified for transport. Researchers use liquid helium to cool it, and the trap uses a homogeneous axial magnetic field and a heterogeneous quadrupole electric field to trap and release antiprotons. It may seem simple, but we are faced with a 1.9 meter and 1 ton chamber.


The second device, the PUMA, is a two-zone trap inside a one-ton superconducting magnetic coil that is discharged at a high temperature and the temperature is reduced to 4 degrees above absolute zero. The field produced by this device can hold antiprotons, while not in contact with the substance for a long time.

When the tests are completed and such a storage chamber becomes operational in 2023, it will be used to transport antimatter over a short distance from the CERN antimatter plant to the center’s ISOLDE facility.

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