What is Antimatter? The Curious Case of Antimatter

What is Antimatter? It always creates curiosity among physics enthusiasts that what really is antimatter. Here we are going to explain in detail about it.

A huge aggregation of antiparticles — antiprotons, antineutrons, and positrons (antielectrons) — which have opposite properties to regular particles, and which may form antiatoms together. They self-destruct as matter and antimatter collide in an explosion of high-energy photons or gamma rays. The laws of physics seem to anticipate a blend of matter and antimatter around fifty fifty with the recognizable universe apparently comprising as a rule of issue, known as the “asymmetry issue of baryons”

What is Antimatter?
Representative Image

In more simpler words it was once believed that matter could not be made or destroyed, but we now realize that it is synonymous with energy and space. If a particle collides with its antiparticle, the two annihilate each other, finally transforming their mass into energy. The energy produces a cascade of new particles the acts as a warning that such an occurrence has happened – for example, observing a gamma-ray with 511 keV energy is an electron signature and a positron annihilating one another.

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Antimatter may either be formed artificially or naturally.

Uses Or Applications of Antimatter:

  • Antimatter annihilations transform the whole mass of the competing particles into energy, following the famous equation E = mc2 by Albert Einstein.
  • Much energy can be generated from small mass – a kilogram of matter annihilating with the same volume of antimatter can emit about as much as the Tsar Bomba, the biggest thermonuclear bomb ever created.
  • It has been speculated as a potential future missile or fuel source – propulsion powered by antimatter is a specialty of science fiction.
  • Currently, though, antimatter takes way too long to make, and at too high an energy cost, to be feasible either with weapons or gasoline. CERN reports that it took several hundred million pounds to generate only one billionth of a gram and that it would take about 100 billion years to make a gram of antimatter.
  • Positron Emission Tomography, one form of medical scan, uses radioactive ‘tracers’ which undergo β+ decay. When the tracers emit a positron it collides with an electron in the body, and a pair of gamma rays are formed by the resulting annihilation.
  • Detecting such gamma rays helps medical staff to create an image of the tracer’s distribution in the patient’s body. Commonly the tracer used is a glucose derivative that is soaked up by the brain, liver, and most tumors in large concentrations – allowing for tumor identification.
  • It has also been proposed that antimatter, using a method similar to ion therapy, can be used not only to cure but also to treat cancer.
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