Feeds

Scientists explain why stuff is matter

All down to decay rates, it seems

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Miniscule differences in the way antimatter and matter behave may help to explain why the universe is dominated by matter, according to a group of scientists working on the BABAR experiment.

The big bang should have produced equal quantities of matter and antimatter. The fact that our universe is so dominated by matter must be down to some subtle difference in the two substances. The research teams on the BABAR experiment have discovered tiny differences in the decay patterns of B and anti-B mesons, a phenomenon known as a CP violation.

This is one of three conditions outlined by Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov to explain the observed imbalance in the relative quantities of matter and antimatter, and is not easy to find. The differences in the decay patterns that point to a CP violation are tiny: in this case less than 300 parts in 200m pairs of B and anti-B mesons.

The BABAR experiment involves the Stanford Linear Accelerator's PEP II accelerator, which collides electrons and positrons. This collision produces exotic heavy particle and anti-particle pairs known as B and anti-B mesons. In turn, these decay into other subatomic particles, like kaons and pions.

SLAC's Marcello Giorgi, who is also spokesman for the BABAR experiment, said that if there were no difference between matter and antimatter, both the B meson and the anti-B meson would exhibit exactly the same decay patterns. "However, our new measurement shows an example of a large difference in decay rates instead."

Giorgi explained that the team has examined the decays of more than 200m pairs of B and anti-B mesons and found 910 examples of the B meson decaying into a kaon and a pion, but only 696 examples of the same final state for the anti-B. This is what is known as a direct charge conjugation parity, or CP violation: you can read upon that here.

"The new measurement is very much a result of the outstanding performance of SLAC's PEP-II accelerator and the efficiency of the BABAR detector," Giorgi said. "The accelerator is now operating at three times its design performance and BABAR is able to record about 98 per cent of collisions." ®

Related stories

US boffins charged with parity violations
Boffins discover upper limit of HD write speed
Data speed record crushed

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.