Physics of Antimatter
Our group is part of the GBAR collaboration (Gravitational Behavior of Antihydrogen At Rest), whose aim is to measure the effect of gravity on antihydrogen atoms by letting them fall in the gravitational field of the Earth. This international collaboration (involving research groups from France, Switzerland, UK, Russia, and Japan) was approved by CERN in May 2012, and is to be run at the CERN Antiproton Decelerator (AD) at the start of the new ELENA ring in 2014.
The production of a significant amount of antihydrogen goes through a series of steps involving the creation, trapping, and cooling of positrons and antiprotons, as well as the formation of positronium atoms (neutral particles composed of one electron and one positron). As a byproduct, significant amounts of cold and dense anti-particles are expected to be created and trapped for relatively long times, opening up the possibility to study « exotic » states of (anti)matter.
Our group is involved in the following research topics:
- The determination of the cross-sections of the antiproton-positronium reactions that should produce positively charged antihydrogen ions. These reactions constitute a crucial step in the production of antihydrogen for the GBAR experiment.