Antimatter can Now be Made from Light more Efficiently

An international team of researchers has worked on how to create an antimatter version of a positron-electron using a laser and a small block of plastic. From Einstein’s most famous equation E = mc2 we know that energy and matter are two sides of the same coin. And, no matter how powerful light is emitted when objects and antimatters touch each other; it is possible to create matter-antimatter pairs using light.

However, just because something is possible doesn’t mean it’s easy – although this new experimental setup has shown that there’s probably an easy way to create antimatter. On the opposite side of a tiny block of plastic are shot two extremely powerful laser pulses that are crossed by tiny channels the size of a micron. Theoretical models and simulations have supported this approach, and these results have been reported in the journal Nature Communications Physics.

Co-author Dr Toma Toncian, from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), said in a statement, “When the laser pulses enter the sample, each of them very quickly accelerates a cloud of electrons.” “These two electron clouds then run towards each other with full force, contacting the laser propagating in opposite directions.” The collision is so violent that it produces gamma rays the most powerful forms of light so concentrated that gamma rays are converted into electron-positron pairs.

On top of that, the setup creates a strong magnetic field that accelerates the positrons into a solid beam. Acceleration is highly efficient ে at a fraction of a millimeter; positrons acquire the energy that is usually possible with a full-scale particle accelerator. The new method is expected to produce 100,000 more positrons than the one-laser single-treatment concept, which makes it more effective in terms of numbers. Employed lasers do not have to be as powerful as other methods, which is another advantage.

The next step is to actually test it. The team wants to use the Extreme Light Infrastructure Nuclear Physics Facility in Romania, although some preliminary tests could be conducted at Europe’s XFEL, home to the world’s most powerful laser. The ability to create large amounts of antimatter in such a way can provide insight into particle physics as well as astronomy.