As the name suggests, an anti-matter is the opposite of matter. It consists of sub-atomic particles that show properties entirely opposite of those of matter. Anti-matter and matter were created together after the Big Bang. However, it is very rare to find them in the current universe. For a better understanding of the antimatter, let’s first understand the matter.
The matter is made from several atoms that are small units of elements like oxygen, hydrogen or helium. Each element comprises a different number of atoms: One for hydrogen, two for helium and so on. It is difficult to understand the working of a whole atom, as it has many exotic particles that possess the spin and flavor that scientists have just begun to understand. For simple understanding, we can look at the particles like proton, neutron, and electron inside an atom.
So what exactly is anti-matter-
Inside an atom, there is a nucleus in the center which contains a proton (which is positively charged) and neutron (which doesn’t have any charge). Around this nucleus, electrons (Negatively charged particles) move in different orbits. The electrons can jump on the higher orbits, depending on their energy.
As per NASA, in case of antimatter, the charges of the particles are reversed relative to the matter. A Positron (which is an anti-electron) has a positive charge and behaves like an electron. Moreover, an antiproton has a negative charge and behaves like a proton.“These antiparticles have been produced and studied at huge particle accelerators like Large Hadron Collider operated by CERN”, said NASA.
In simple words anti-matter can be defined as – matter consisting of elementary particles which are the antiparticles of those making up normal matter.Also, antiparticles are not anti-gravity. However, it has not been confirmed experimentally, the existing theories predict that antimatter acts in the same way to gravity as normal does.
How was antimatter created?
Antimatter particles were created in the ultra high-speed collision, which was Big Bang. After the Big Bang, only energy existed and as the Universe started cooling down, both matter and the antimatter were generated in equal amount. However, the reason for the existence of matter and the rare existence of antimatter in today’s Universe is still to be figured out by a scientist. The only theory that suggests the existence of matter over antimatter is that after mutual annihilation the matter was left to form stars and other galaxies.
The existence of the antimatter was first predicted in 1928 by Paul Dirac. He had put together quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of relativity equations and discovered the equation that worked for the electrons of negative or positive charges.
As Werner Karl Heisenberg said, “I think that the discovery of antimatter was perhaps the biggest jump of all the big jumps in physics of our century,” the engineers had speculated the power of antimatter by considering the fact that when antimatter collides with matter particles, they annihilate each other and produce energy. This energy is sufficient to power a spacecraft that can be an efficient way to explore the Universe.