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!

What does antimatter mean for science?

  1. Dec 2, 2013 #1
    So I have been doing research and if antimatter atoms can exist, does that mean every atom now a days has an antimatter counterpart? I know we have discovered anti-hydrogen but anyways I'm trailing off.

    Could you theoretically create anti-molecules? Obviously realistically at this time antimatter is hard as hell to keep contained for any length of time but if it was possible, what would these anti-molecules possess? Like say anti-H20 or anti-HCl?

    Thanks for the responses - Adrian

    P.S not sure what place this belongs but this seems like a good place.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2013 #2
    By possess I mean the properties of the molecule. Just clearing up any confusion.
  4. Dec 2, 2013 #3
    From what I understand, anti-matter is just a traditional elementary particle with its charge flipped. Anti-hydrogen is simply a hydrogen atom made out of smaller (negative) anti-protons and (positive) anti-electrons. That being said, I'm not sure if there is such thing as anti-neutron or other questionable cases..

    Anyways, I would assume that an anti-molecule would have almost identical properties to the corresponding regular molecule. Why? Well, charge still remains the same even if the sign is flipped, so all of bonds holding the compounds together would be the same strength. Much of chemistry and the properties of compounds come from bond strength.

    Also, I would assume that a lump of the anti-matter would be the same color as its corresponding regular matter. This is for the same reason, the charges are the same, thus, the orbitals likely look the exact same and have the same energy levels. This would lead to the same light reflection properties
  5. Dec 2, 2013 #4
    Thanks for the response:)!

    But if the matter is the same just the charge flipped, why does antimatter destroy itself? I dont know if thats actually what it does but Im guessing that's what it does.

    To add to this. Isn't there a law where "No matter can be created or destroyed" and wouldn't anti-matter break this law by, when being put with its non-antimatter counter part won't the anti-atom and normal atom annihilate each other? This breaks that law correct?
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  6. Dec 2, 2013 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Not if you regard mass and energy as interchangeable / the same basic stuff. This has been the view for quite some time, now and your "law" was superceded, along with the "energy canon be created or destroyed" one. Of course, for most purposes, they are still alive and kicking!
  7. Dec 2, 2013 #6
    Thankya for clearing that up for me! :)

    This article do you think they will find what they are looking for?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10486661/Scientists-race-to-prove-existence-of-Star-Trek-antimatter.html [Broken]

    I mean I know they probably spruced it up a bit to make an interesting article but do you think negative "gravity" will be found in these new particles being made?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Dec 2, 2013 #7
    It doesn't destroy itself. Matter and antimatter annihilates ("destroy" each other).

    (The total) energy and momentum is conserved in annihilation. Mass is not conserved.

    See e.g. positron annihilation.
  9. Dec 2, 2013 #8
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  10. Dec 2, 2013 #9
    To answer your basic question, theoretically any existing molecule could be replicated with an antimatter equivalent. Creating the higher weight anti-elements becomes more and more difficult, and thus expensive, but not impossible. They should be 100% stable if not allowed to contact normal matter.
  11. Dec 2, 2013 #10
    Another poster was saying that these elements wouldn't be much different from their normal matter counterparts except the charge, but this difference of charge wouldn't that matter?

    P.s I just realized I threw a pun in the. Matter.. Matters heh :cool:
  12. Dec 2, 2013 #11
    They would be expected to react with other antimatter molecules in a similar way to that which 'normal' matter modules react with each other. However you must keep them away from all normal matter, otherwise they will cause a micro'-BOOM'. It's an ideal fuel for Starships (though sub-c) ....ala Star Trek...
  13. Dec 2, 2013 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That's nothing to do with the 'anti'ness of antimatter. That's a disappointment for many people, who first come across the term.
  14. Dec 3, 2013 #13
    Hmm antimatter is weird then, it has an opposite charge then normal matter and annihilates Itself with normal matter this stuff is so weird.
  15. Dec 3, 2013 #14


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The whole thing is weird - along with the names that have been chosen for lots of the concepts: 'strangeness', 'color', 'quark'. I think there must be a looniness bug, being passed round the West Coast of the USA, which accounts for the actions and choices of many really brilliant people.
    Look upon it as 'anti' because it annihilates normal particles and forget the mass bit. Gravity and all the other forces are still a long way apart.
    One day they may find something to unify it all together in a verifiable way.
  16. Dec 4, 2013 #15
    I have not yet seen any experimental evidence of whether antimatter shows anti-gravity effects. I suspect that we will soon know this answer as they are continue having success in storing this stuff for long periods.
  17. Dec 4, 2013 #16

    It's beyond cool - get the book I referenced and prepare to get you mind blown ;-> With enough antimatter, we can travel to other stars.... (though this amount could also destroy a planet ;-< )
  18. Dec 4, 2013 #17
    :3 please let's hope we can travel intergalactically before I'm dead I want to own a planet.
  19. Dec 4, 2013 #18


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There is loads of evidence that it has normal 'positive' mass because it moves the right way when deflected by a magnetic field. You are being just a tad too fanciful with this, I think. Just accept it and work for your Nobel Prize later. :wink:
  20. Dec 4, 2013 #19
    Wait so it have normal gravitational properties :( ?

    Quick question though, so you guys know the Higgs boson, doesn't that give normal matter its mass? So if the antimatter counterpart what would that do? Give it negative mass?
  21. Dec 4, 2013 #20
    You could also have a look at this page:

    Does antimatter fall up or down? (University of California)

    Please note that this text is from 1999. I remember reading about an upcoming experiment on the gravitational interaction of antimatter, this was maybe half a year/a year ago, if I remember correctly. The results ought to be available somewhere, I reckon. I'll go look for them on the net and post in this thread if I find something.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: What does antimatter mean for science?
  1. But what does it mean? (Replies: 3)

  2. What does rest mean? (Replies: 16)

  3. What does paradox mean? (Replies: 19)

  4. What does f_0 mean? (Replies: 3)