Scientists have spent decades trying to create large amounts of antimatter, which they believe will allow them to better understand the origins of the universe. The existing approaches–involving radioactive isotopes and massive particle accelerators–are prohibitively expensive. But according to physicists at Lawrence Livermore, a breakthrough with laser technology has allowed them to create anti-matter on the cheap.
The researchers shot an extremely powerful laser at a gold target; the resulting explosion triggered a release of positrons (the antimatter version of electrons). The scientists note that this is only a first step and warn that antimatter can be dangerous: When it encounters matter, the opposites annihilate each other. Nevertheless, they hope that even more powerful lasers will allow them to test emerging theories about the Big Bang and black holes.
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