The measurements show no difference between matter and antimatter, within the accuracy the scientists could achieve. That leaves another puzzle, as it rules out an asymmetric quirk of the strong force that could account for the abundance of matter and the scarcity of antimatter in the Universe today.
The experiments were conducted at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a US Department of Energy facility for nuclear physics research at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
The findings, published in the journal Nature, could offer insight into larger chunks of antimatter, including antimatter nuclei previously detected at RHIC.
“The Big Bang at the beginning of the Universe produced matter and antimatter in equal amounts. But that’s not the world we see today. Antimatter is extremely rare. It’s a huge mystery,” says Aihong Tang, a Brookhaven physicist involved in the analysis, which used data collected by RHIC’s STAR detector.
“Although this puzzle has been known for decades and little clues have emerged, it remains one of the big challenges of science. Anything we learn about the nature of antimatter can potentially contribute to solving this puzzle.”
More from Brookhaven National Laboratory here.
Originally published by Cosmos as The force holding anti-matter together
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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