FEB 13, 2020 7:00 AM PST

What is Antimatter, the "Most Expensive" Substance on Earth?

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

Physicists have long theorized that our world shouldn't have existed, because the equal amount of matter and antimatter created during the toddlerhood of our universe should have annihilated with each other, leaving almost nothing behind. Thank goodness that was not the case, and our world is dominated with normal matter. Scientists suspect that the reason behind this imbalance may lie in antimatter itself. But what is antimatter?

In physics, antimatter is defined as the counterpart of normal matter, with the same mass but opposite electric charge. For example, a positron is the antimatter equivalent of an electron. It has the same mass and spin as an electron, but a charge of +1 instead of -1.

Antiparticles (such as positrons and antiprotons) can bind with each other to form antimatter (such as antihydrogen), just as ordinary particles bind to form normal matter. For the past a few years, scientists at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) have been producing antihydrogen by slowing downing high energy antiprotons and smashing them into positrons.

Due to its explosive nature (it annihilates when in contact with normal matter) and energy-intensive production, the cost of making antimatter is astronomical. CERN produces about 1x10^15 antiprotons every year, but that only amounts to 1.67 nanograms. To make one full gram (approximately 0.035 ounces) of the antiproton, scientists will need to continue their production at the current rate for another 6x10^8 years, and it will cost them a whopping 2.5x10^15 euros!

Source: Physics Girl via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
DEC 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Novel Two-phased Particles are the Ultimate Authenticity Tag
DEC 24, 2020
Novel Two-phased Particles are the Ultimate Authenticity Tag
Counterfeit goods producers are flooding the global market with low-quality, sometimes dangerous merchandise and ripping ...
JAN 20, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Check out this anode-free, zinc-based battery
JAN 20, 2021
Check out this anode-free, zinc-based battery
It is at once imperative and urgent to develop batteries capable of storing large amounts of energy if we are to success ...
FEB 01, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Presence of plasma inhibits ultra-relativistic energies in solar storms
FEB 01, 2021
Presence of plasma inhibits ultra-relativistic energies in solar storms
A study published in the journal Science Advances reports new measurements from NASA's Van Allen Probes spacecraft. ...
MAR 30, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Cells Can 'Walk' On a Nanofiber Tightrope
MAR 30, 2021
Cells Can 'Walk' On a Nanofiber Tightrope
When cells were given a tiny 'tightrope' they 'walked' it, and researchers have discovered a new kind of cellular moveme ...
APR 08, 2021
Immunology
What's That Frozen Pizza Doing to Your Immune System?
APR 08, 2021
What's That Frozen Pizza Doing to Your Immune System?
In a recent study, scientists found that commonly-used chemical additives added to processed foods can have toxic effect ...
MAY 03, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
What do advances in 3D printing techniques mean for tissue engineering?
MAY 03, 2021
What do advances in 3D printing techniques mean for tissue engineering?
New investigations into the field of customized tissue engineering are reported in the journal Bioprinting. The study wa ...
Loading Comments...