Dipositronium: The Matter-Antimatter Molecule

Matter-antimatter molecule makes its debut. ‘The first ever molecule made from matter-antimatter pairs has been created by physicists in the US. Dubbed “dipositronium”, it contains two electrons and two positrons that are bound together in much the same way as molecular hydrogen. The researchers claim that their technique could be improved to make the first matter-antimatter Bose Einstein condensate and ultimately the first “annihilation gamma-ray laser”, which could be used to study objects as small as atomic nuclei (Nature 449 195).’

Molecules of Positronium Observed in the Laboratory for the First Time – Research by UCR physicists could help the development of gamma-ray lasers; explain how matter came to dominate the universe. ‘Physicists at UC Riverside have created molecular positronium, an entirely new object in the laboratory. Briefly stable, each molecule is made up of a pair of electrons and a pair of their antiparticles, called positrons.

The research paves the way for studying multi-positronium interactions – useful for generating coherent gamma radiation – and could one day help develop fusion power generation as well as directed energy weapons such as gamma-ray lasers. It also could help explain how the observable universe ended up with so much more matter than “antimatter”.

The researchers made the positronium molecules by firing intense bursts of positrons into a thin film of porous silica, which is the chemical name for the mineral quartz. Upon slowing down in silica, the positrons were captured by ordinary electrons to form positronium atoms.

Positronium atoms, by nature, are extremely short-lived. But those positronium atoms that stuck to the internal pore surfaces of silica, the way dirt particles might cling to the inside surface of the holes in a sponge, lived long enough to interact with one another to form molecules of positronium, the physicists found.’

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