Scientists at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) have isolated antihydrogen atoms. Antimatter is the material that is a key component of the Big Bang theory but has never been seen with significant lifetime before now.
An article in Nature has reported that 38 antihydrogen atoms have been individually isolated for 0.1 seconds, as reported by the Associated Press. From the AP article:
Since their first success, the team has managed to hold the anti-atoms even longer.
"Unfortunately I can't tell you how long, because we haven't published the number yet," Hangst told the AP. "But I can tell you that it's much, much longer than a tenth of a second. Within human comprehension on a real clock."
Scientists have long been able to create individual particles of antimatter such as anti-protons, anti-neutrons and positrons - the opposite of electrons. Since 2002, they have also managed to create anti-atoms in large quantities, but until recently none could be trapped for long enough to study them, because atoms made of antimatter and matter annihilate each other in a burst of energy upon contact.
"It doesn't help if they disappear immediately upon their creation," said Hangst. "So the big goal has been to hold onto them."
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