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32

So, what is antimatter? Even from the name it is obviously the "opposite" of ordinary matter, but what does that really mean? As it happens there are several equally valid ways to describe the difference. However, the one that I think is easiest to explain is that in antimatter, all of the electrical charges on all of the particles, at every level, have ...


25

Antimatter has the same mass as normal matter, and its interaction with gravity should be the same according to GR and QM. That said, antimatter has only been created in tiny amounts so far and only few experiments have been performed to confirm there is no new physics involved. The gravitational interaction of antimatter with matter or antimatter has ...


23

To the best of my knowledge, most physicists don't believe that antimatter is actually matter moving backwards in time. It's not even entirely clear what would it really mean to move backwards in time, from the popular viewpoint. If I'm remembering correctly, this idea all comes from a story that probably originated with Richard Feynman. At the time, one of ...


16

Well, they do and don't. Depends on your point of view. Here's the story. Quantum field theory requires for consistency reasons that every charged particle has its antiparticle. It also tells you what properties will the anti-particle have: it will have the same characteristic from the point of view of space-time (i.e. Poincaré group) which means equal mass ...


16

I am assuming that by "energy" you mean photons. So you want to transform protons into photons. It is not possible. It would violate several conservation laws - mainly the charge conservation (protons are positively charged), but also baryon number conservation. The antiparticle is necessary to cancel these quantum charges to make the transition possible.


15

If I ruled the world, I would ban the phrase "pure energy" in contexts like this. There's no such thing as pure energy! When particles and antiparticles annihilate, the resulting energy can take many different forms -- one of the basic principles of quantum physics is that any process that's not forbidden (say, because of violation of some sort of ...


15

The ultimate goal is to be able to do precision spectroscopy of antihydrogen, to make sure that the energy states are the same as in ordinary matter. If there are differences between the energy levels of ordinary hydrogen and antihydrogen, that would violate "CP" symmetry, which says that if you change the sign of all the charges in some system, and invert ...


15

The basic tragedy of space travel is expressed by the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, which says that the amount of reaction mass you need grows exponentially with your $\Delta v/v_e$, where $v_e$ is the exhaust velocity. The advantage of antimatter propulsion is high energy density, but energy density doesn't have any direct, major effect on the amount of ...


14

The definition of an antiparticle is dependent on having the opposite quantum numbers of the particle so that they can annihilate, i.e. the sum of the conserved quantum numbers are zero. Thus the answer by @mpv is adequate. The implication of your question is then: is baryon number conservation a strict law or an emergent law that may be violated at some ...


13

Dear Chad, you misinterpret the statement that "the known sources of CP-violation are not enough to explain the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the Universe." You seem to think that the statement means that the known CP-violating parameter (namely the CP-violating phase in the CKM matrix) and the processes based on it are qualitatively insufficient to ...


12

The Dirac equation implies negative energies as well as positive. This is due to energy-momentum relation $E=\pm \sqrt{m^2+p^2 }$. If we replace $E$ and $p$ by operators $E\to i\frac{\partial }{\partial t}$ and $p\to -i\nabla$ we get the Klein-Gordon equation $(\Box+m^2)\phi=0$ for scalar (spinless) fields $\phi$. The problem with this equation is that it ...


12

See also: What is anti-matter? Currently there is no reason to believe/require antimatter has negative mass. It should therefore behave exactly the same in a gravitational field. The matter-antimatter distinction is pretty arbitrary. We found protons/neutrons/electrons first, so particles of the same families that exhibit similar behavior are "matter", and ...


10

This refers to Feynman's 1949 theory. See http://www.upscale.utoronto.ca/PVB/Harrison/AntiMatter/AntiMatter.htmllink text From there: "Feynman's Theory of Antimatter In 1949 Richard Feynman devised another theory of antimatter. The spacetime diagram for pair production and annihilation appears to the right. An electron is travelling along from the lower ...


10

In addition to dmckee's answer this link summarizes the experiments of antiprotons catching protons and neutrons, creating temporary nuclei. It is the symmetric state to the one in the question : an anti-proton-neutron nucleus that lasts for a bit (fig 5.7). Anti-protons can be made in abundance and controlled experimentally because they are charged, ...


10

The anti-particle corresponding to a neutron is an anti neutron! The neutron is made up of one up quark and two down quarks. The anti-neutron is made up of an anti-up quark and two anti-down quarks. Both have zero charge because the charges of the quarks within them balance out. You are correct that elementary particles with no charge are often their own ...


10

Charge is only the most familiar of the properties that are inverted between a particle and its antiparticle, but it's not the only one. So you should not consider "same mass and opposite electric charge" to be a definition of what an antiparticle is; it's merely a plain-English explanation. A list of properties in which particles and antiparticles differ ...


9

It depends on your definition of annihilation. But microscopically all processes are described by Feynman diagrams such as these of which last one describes electron positron annihilation (if it weren't for the typo in the out-going photon). But as you can see it's all a simple matter of how you turn your head around and the very same diagram represents ...


9

From the very basic understanding that they are created out of nothing mutually and collide to annihilate each other seems to indicate this happens due to an attraction. Why? this just means that if two of them are nearby, they can annihilate. Remember that particles are waves, and thus are quite spread out. They don't have to be directed to collide ...


9

Although none of these questions is an exact duplicate, there is a lot of overlap, and I hope we can avoid stringing this kind of stuff out indefinitely. The good news is that you're apparently being very cautious about the safety hazards of your planned matter-antimatter spaceship -- hazards that science fiction authors typically blithely ignore. Please let ...


8

I believe the current modern theory is that there cannot exist anti-matter galaxies unless anti-matter is discovered to have a repulsive interaction with matter via gravity (as opposed to the normal attractive force), which would have interesting applications to the structure of the universe. However, to my understanding, this is not generally theoretically ...


8

Black holes and "anti"-black holes are the same objects. A black hole resulting from the collapse of normal matter, and a black hole resulting from the collapse of antimatter, are indistinguishable. Recall that black holes only have charge, mass, and spin and there is no way to tell that a black hole originally was matter or not (e.g., we can't measure B or ...


8

The annihilation produces gamma photons, whose total energy sums up to the total energy $E_0=\sqrt{p^2 \,c^2 + m^2\,c^4}$ formerly contained in the matter / antimatter kinetic energy (the $p\,c$ term) and that "frozen" in rest mass (the $m\,c^2$ term). So energy is conserved. As for gravity, the Einstein field equations "can't tell the difference" between ...


7

The do not disappear with zero energy. Their energy (both that originating from rest mass and any kinetic energy) appears somehow. As photons, a spray of other (lighter) particles, etc. For instance, when an electron meets a positron (that is, a anti-electron) the most common result is a pair of gamma rays each of 511 keV (in the center of momentum (CoM) ...


7

In quantum field theory and its extensions including string theory, the electric charge is a generator of a $U(1)$ symmetry which should be promoted to a local symmetry i.e. gauge symmetry. In string theory, the $U(1)$ symmetry and the gauge field often appear as parts of the low-energy effective action. This could be enough to answer the question: we ...


7

You'll find Dirac's 1933 Nobel lecture on the Nobelprize.org website. The pdf is quite brief (5 pages long) and speaks on the antiproton at the end (p4). The argument is the following : In any case I think it is probable that negative protons can exist, since as far as the theory is yet definite, there is a complete and perfect symmetry between positive ...


7

Given that the valence quark content of a proton is $(uud)$ and that of a anti-neutron in $(\overline{udd})$ the answer is that sooner later some of the constituent quarks will annihilate and you get a spray assorted particles. The lifetime of such a nucleus will depend on it's orbital angular momentum, with s-states being very short lived and high angular ...



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