Mixing Matter and Antimatter

Some dudes at UC Riverside think they may have created molecules that meld matter with antimatter…

Allen Mills of the University of California, Riverside, and his colleagues say they have seen telltale signs of positronium molecules, made from two positronium atoms1.

Positronium is an other-worldly mimic of hydrogen. In a hydrogen atom, a negatively charged electron moves around a proton, which has a positive charge. The electrical force of attraction between the two subatomic particles holds them together.

In positronium, hydrogen’s proton is replaced by a positron, which is the antimatter partner of an electron. A positron has the same positive charge as a proton, but has the same mass as an electron, which is just 1/1,836 that of a proton. So positronium is an extremely light ‘atom’.

Not terribly useful at this point since it existed for a fraction of a second and then self-destructed. Still interesting nonetheless.

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