Be made in decades of research at cern less than a

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Unformatted text preview: ; it has to be made. In decades of research at CERN, less than a billionth of a gram of antimatter was made, which would provide enough energy to simply light a bulb. Even if significant amount of antimatter could be produced, transporting it would be a really big problem. Since antimatter would disappear the moment it would come into contact with matter, it must be caught with devises that use electric and magnetic fields as trap walls (i.e., Penning traps). Shortly after its publication in 2000, followed by The Da Vinci Code, interest in CERN exploded and the center had to put up a website to respond to the tremendous inquiry about antimatter (see http://livefromcern.web.cern.ch/livefromcern/antimatter/ for more information). Current theory states that only 4% corresponds to the visible baryonic matter which constitutes stars, planets and living beings. What constitutes the rest? 1.5.1 • • Antimatter According to our current understanding, each of the atomic particles of matter has a twin, an antiparticle, which is identical in mass to matter particle but exactly opposite in all other properties. In the beginning of the universe, matter and antimatter probably existed in equal amounts, but minuscule asymmetry between the two allowed a small quantity of matter to escape and mark the beginning of the universe. Antimatter is matter composed of antiparticles. When matter and antimatter come into contact with each other, the two destroy each other to produce pure energy. Luckily, antimatter does not exist in nature except very briefly and in very small quantities as the result of radioactive decay or cosmic rays. If you want some, you have to make it in a laboratory such as CERN. And even then, it can be made only in miniscule amounts, which is much less than required to get any useful energy or make a bomb. Inquisitive Chemist 1.8: Positron emission tomography (PET). Antimatter is used in PET scanning to produce images for medical diagnosis. These images are simply captions of energy released when a positron, an antiparticle of electron, is annihilated by an electron in the body. The positron is introduced into the body by a radioactive atom. More information on PET scans and how they work can be found at www.petscaninfo.com. Researchers have also discovered that antiprotons have potential for detecting and treating cancer. They are, however, much more difficult to create and control than positrons. 20 Copyright © 2007 by Concise Books Publishing LLC. Visit us at www.concisechem.com to download other free chapters from "The Concise Guide to Chemistry." CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO CHEMISTRY There is considerable speculation about the apparent asymmetry of matter and antimatter, and remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of the universe. Perhaps with time, experiments at CERN and other similar investigations will give more information on why the universe favors matter over antimatter, possible existence of antimatter in parallel uni...
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This document was uploaded on 09/19/2013.

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