The quibble of the week
"Jay, you said, 'Part of that has to do with human beings having no way of storing antimatter, though presumably one could create ionized anti-helium atoms and store them in a magnetic bottle.' Actually, we do have, and have had, a way to store antimatter. A 'magnetic storage bottle-type' device, also called a 'high vacuum magnetron trap', and typically referred to as a 'Penning Trap,' has been around since the year I was born, 1959. More to the point, those same guys at CERN have been using a 'Penning-Malmberg' trap since roughly late 2002 to actually store tens of thousands of antimatter atoms. Unfortunately, even at peak production, CERN would require, 'two billion years to produce 1 gram of antihydrogen'[link]. The biggest problem with using magnetic storage containers is that the particles stored inside need to have a charge or they can't be confined."
Yeah, this was one of my grosser misstatements, as I was trying to convey the notion that most individual antimatter particles can't be practically stored; it requires the creation of full antimatter atoms, which can then be given a magnetic charge, and thus stored in a magnetic bottle, as is done with a Penning Trap. Storing, say, an anti-neutron all by itself is beyond our technology right now, so far as I understand it, but I did not communicate that clearly.
Thanks for the particle physics comeuppance, and keep those quibbles coming!
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Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.