Antimatter

Collision of matter and antimatter

When you hear the word antimatter It seems like something typical of a movie. However, it is something totally real and we even emit it in our body. Antimatter has become very important to science as it helps us understand many aspects of the universe, its formation and evolution. In addition, it explains many phenomena that take place in reality.

Do you want to know what antimatter is and why is it so important? Here we explain everything to you.

What is antimatter

Antimatter particles

Antimatter arises from one of those enormous equations that have a language that only great physicists and mathematicians are able to decipher. These equations seem like something that is wrong and that, normally, after so many equations, it is normal that there is some error. Nevertheless, this is totally true and antimatter is real.

It is a substance made up of what are known as antiparticles. These particles are the same as those we know but with the totally opposite electrical charge. For example, the antiparticle of an electron whose charge is negative is a positron. It is an equal element with the same composition, but with a positive charge. This is that simple and whoever wants to make it more complicated is wrong.

These particle and antiparticle substances go into pairs. When the two collide, they annihilate each other and disappear completely. Under the result of this collision, a flash of light is formed. Particles that do not have charges, such as neutrinos, are themselves thought to be their own antiparticle.

There are some theories that think of these particles under the name of Majorana and it follows that the dark matter particles could also be Majorana particles, that is to say that they themselves are its antiparticle and particle at the same time.

Dirac's equation

What is antimatter

As we have discussed, antimatter arises from mathematical studies and long physical equations. Physicist Paul Dirac, studied all this in 1930. He tried to unify the most important physical currents in one: special relativity and quantum mechanics. These two currents united in a single theoretical framework could greatly help the understanding of the universe.

Today we know this as the Dirac equation. This is a fairly simple equation, but one that overwhelmed all scientists at the time. The equation predicted something that seems impossible, particles with negative energy. Dirac's equations said that particles could have lower energy than rest. That is, they could have less energy than they have when they are doing absolutely nothing. This statement was more difficult for physicists to understand. How can you have less energy than you have without doing anything, if you are no longer doing anything by yourself?

From this it was possible to find that the particles had negative energy. All of this triggered the reality in which there is a sea of ​​particles that have negative energy and that had not been discovered by physics. When a normal particle jumps from a lower energy level to a higher one, it leaves a gap in the lower energy level from which it came. Now, if the particle has a negative charge, the hole may have a negatively charged hole or, what is the same, a positive charge, that is, a positron. This is how the concept of antiparticle was born.

Where is antimatter found?

Characteristics of antimatter

The first antimatter particles to be detected were those from cosmic rays using a cloud chamber. These cameras are used to detect particles. They emit a gas that ionizes after the passage of particles, so you can know the path they have. Scientist Carl D. Anderson was able to use a magnetic field so that, When a particle passes through the chamber, the path will bend for its electrical charge. In this way it was achieved that the particle went to one side and the antiparticle to the other.

Later, antiprotons and antineutrons were discovered, and since then, the discoveries have been greater and greater. Antimatter is getting better known. Our planet is constantly being bombarded with antiparticles that are part of cosmic rays. What is closest to us is what affects us.

We can say that we ourselves emit antimatter due to the composition of the body. For example, if we eat a banana, due to the decay of potassium -40, will form a positron every 75 minutes. This means that if, in our body, we find potassium -40, it will be that we ourselves are a source of antiparticles.

What is it for

Antimatter

Surely you will say that what is the use of knowing that there is antimatter. Well, thanks to her, we have many improvements in the field of medicine. For example, it is widely used in positron emission tomography. These particles are used to be able to produce some images of the human body at a high resolution. These images are very useful in inspections to know if we have a tumor that is expanding or its degree of evolution. The use of antiprotons for the treatment of cancers is also being studied.

In the future, antimatter could serve as a promising element in energy production. When matter and antimatter annihilate, they leave a good form of energy in the form of light. One gram of antimatter alone would release an energy equivalent to a nuclear bomb. This is completely awesome.

The problem today with the exploitation of antimatter for energy is its storage. It is something that we are very far from solving. Every gram of antimatter it would need about 25.000 trillion kilowatt hours of energy.

It also serves to explain why we exist. Initially, according to big Bang Theory, the origins of both matter and antimatter must have occurred through a pattern of total symmetry. If this were so, we would have already disappeared. Therefore, it is necessary that there must be at least 1 more particle of matter for each antimatter.

I hope this information has clarified your doubts about antimatter.


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