# Alternative to making antimatter

1. May 14, 2013

### NetMage

Is there an alternative to making antimatter that would make it more cost efficient? Or is high energy physics the only conceivable possibility? Would someone mind explaining why manufacturing it would "drain the entire global power supply"?

2. May 14, 2013

### mathman

http://www.engr.psu.edu/antimatter/papers/nasa_anti.pdf [Broken]

Above might help.

Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
3. May 14, 2013

### Staff: Mentor

We manufacture antimatter all the time for medical imaging purposes. It does use a decent amount of energy but hardly "drain the world" levels.

4. May 14, 2013

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
Please note that in PET scan in medical imaging, the "P" stands for positron.

Zz.

5. May 15, 2013

### 256bits

We manufacture the tracer radioactive isotope used in the PET scan. Instrumentation detects the radiation emitted when the emitted positron from the isotope combines with an electron in the body.

6. May 15, 2013

### Danger

What sort of scale are you asking about? A few years back, Lurch informed me of a finding that some coronal mass discharges from the sun release hundreds of tonnes of antimatter. Catching it is the tricky part.

7. May 15, 2013

### NetMage

Thank you for the responses. I was completely unaware antimatter was used in medical imaging. How is it stored?

8. May 15, 2013

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
They are not 'stored'. You use a radioactive tracer element that emits a positron when decay.

Zz.

9. May 15, 2013

### NetMage

Interesting. So if a positron can be emitted from radioactive decay, why not use this technique manufacture antimatter? Its clear that it isn't feasible or I assume we would be doing it. But, I guess what I'm not understanding is how come antimatter isn't being mass produced for all of its potential uses? I read some of that article (haven't finished it yet), and it says to manufacture a gram of antimatter it costs 62.5 trillion USD. Would producing antimatter through decay be just as cost inefficient?

10. May 15, 2013

### NetMage

Would you mind going into further detail here? What is a coronal mass discharge exactly? Why doesn't it react when exposed to matter, that I assume it comes in contact with somewhere, sometime, no?

11. May 15, 2013

### Staff: Mentor

The decay only produces positrons, not the antiprotons and and antineutrons that would also be needed to assemble antimatter, and producing the radioactive elements that decay to produce the positrons is itself enormously expensive,

You might try googling for "positron source", will get you more information more quickly than asking here.

12. May 15, 2013

### NetMage

Thank you

13. May 15, 2013

### Danger

I figure that the best answer for that is to just quote the applicable posts from the previous thread. There's nothing I can add to their content.

LURCH
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As far as generation is concerned, it will be a long time before we can produce and store antimatter in appreciable quantities. In the distant, future, we learn harvest it from stars. A couple years ago, I read an article stating that some form of solar disturbance (a flare, I think) had produced more than a pound of antimatter in just a few moments.
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Nov17-07, 03:29 PM #16

Danger
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Wow! I never heard of that one before, Lurch. Can you manage to remember where you read it? (That's not an insult, by the way; I can almost never do that.)
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Nov18-07, 12:05 AM #17

LURCH
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LOL! Well, I GoogleTM Searched it, (Solar flare antimatter), and turned up a conversation right here in the Forums wherein I had posted this link to the story at NASA.Gov...

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/...903rhessi.html [Broken]

...the post was from 2003!

Ah, good times!
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I never took a vow of poverty...it's just sort of turning out that way.

Unfortunately, the link that he provided no longer works. Perhaps, though, some of the conversation will be of assistance. (And I obviously severely misremembered the quantity involved and the causative phenomenon.) A coronal mass discharge is essentially just a solar flare that escapes from the sun instead of looping back in. I don't know why the antimatter doesn't react if it's just in a flare; I assume that it does after detection. With a discharge, it might not come into contact with regular matter on its way out.

Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
14. May 15, 2013

### LURCH

Hiya Danger! Hey, I remeber that conversation...

As I recall, the antimatter interacts with normal matter within the sun before detection. What NASA reported detecting was actually the products of that interaction.

I believe this is the NASA article I referenced back then, and Here's a link to a short blurb from SciAm about that same research. Oddly enough, my GoogleTM search this afternoon turned up nothing more recent.

15. May 15, 2013

### Staff: Mentor

CERN has managed to produce very small amounts of antihydrogen:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antihydrogen

And of course they surely get nowhere close to 100% conversion, probably more like a small fraction of 1%.

16. May 15, 2013

### NetMage

So now all I have to do is wait 100 billion years. No prob...

17. May 15, 2013

### SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
If you have a spare $62.5 trillion US, I would be happy to get you a gram of antimatter. Of course, I would have to charge an additional fee for my commission. Storage, shipping, and handling would be your responsibility, as would any necessary taxes, insurance, customs fees, etc. In 2011, the value of the entire amount of goods and services (GDP) produced in the US was about$15 trillion.

BTW, a coronal mass ejection is like a big solar flare, as a large amount of solar material erupts from the sun and travels into space. The average amount of material ejected is about 1.6 billion tonnes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronal_mass_ejection

18. May 15, 2013

### Danger

What's the problem? Don't you have anything to do in the meantime?

19. May 16, 2013

### NetMage

Hm, no. I guess I could finish school...