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Sunday, October 15, 2006

 

Antimatter and matter combine in chemical reaction

`Mixing antimatter and matter usually has predictably violent consequences the two annihilate one another in a fierce burst of energy.

But physicists in Geneva have found a new way to make the two combine, at least briefly, into a single substance. This exceptionally unstable stuff, made of protons and antiprotons, is called protonium. [..]

Researchers led by Evandro Rizzini at Italy’s University of Brescia believe that some of the antiprotons reacted with ionised molecules of ordinary hydrogen, stealing away a proton. These proton-antiproton systems lasted microseconds at most, but that was long enough for many of them to drift away from the core of the experiment before exploding.’




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