1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Antimatter detection

  1. Jul 22, 2015 #1
    I apologize if this has been already asked , but I'm curious about how scientists first found out that such particles exist? Since they are equal in all other aspects except for charge ,
    well my best guess would be that in the large hadron collidor and other particle accelerators they have mass spectrometers or I should call them nuclear spectroscopy or something along those lines and when they did the experiments and run the colliders most of the say protons for example were bent one way in the amgnetic field but some were bent the other way but had the same mass and other characteristics so they concluded that those are particles equal in everything except their charge ?
    is it tru that you can only tell the difference between say an electron and positron by it's opposite bending in a magnetic field ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

  4. Jul 22, 2015 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You can 'directly' detect them by looking at their path through a magnetic field. You can 'indirectly' detect them by finding the high-energy particles and radiation emitted by their annihilation with normal matter.

    Kind of. There are many different detectors in each LHC experiment. I believe all of them involve looking at the tracks that various particles make as they pass through the detectors. Using some well known and supported laws, we can even look at these particle tracks and determine what kind of particle interaction they must have come from. For example, a top quark should decay to a different set of particles, on average, than a strange quark. So we can trace these particles back and determine what the decaying particle was. Of course, this is all statistical analysis meaning that we look at data from trillions of collisions. I don't think you can take a single track and say with certainty what it came from.

    You can find a list of components for the ATLAS experiment's detector here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATLAS_experiment#Components
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook