Scientists make a new form of matter: Di-positronium.

Haven’t had a good science post in awhile so here’s one linking to a BBC News article on how scientists have managed to create a new form of matter called Di-positronium:

Di-positronium, as the new molecule is known, was predicted to exist in 1946 but has remained elusive to science.

Now, a US team has created thousands of the molecules by merging electrons with their antimatter equivalent: positrons.

The discovery, reported in the journal Nature, is a key step in the creation of ultra-powerful lasers known as gamma-ray annihilation lasers.

“The difference in the power available from a gamma-ray laser compared to a normal laser is the same as the difference between a nuclear explosion and a chemical explosion,” said Dr David Cassidy of the University of California, Riverside, and one of the authors of the paper.

“It would have an incredibly high power density.”

It’s hope they’ll be able to produce gamma-ray lasers as a step towards kicking off fusion reactors:

“A gamma-ray laser is the kind of thing that if it existed people would find new uses for it everyday,” said Dr Cassidy.

He highlighted an experiment at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in the US where scientists envisage using 192 lasers to heat a fuel target to try to kick-start nuclear fusion.

“Imagine doing that but you no longer need hundreds of lasers,” he said.

Plus with the right optical tracking mirror you could potentially vaporize a man-sized object from space.

Kudos to anyone who knows which 80’s comedy movie I badly paraphrased that last sentence from.

14 thoughts on “Scientists make a new form of matter: Di-positronium.

  1. erm – if you mix a particle with it’s exact anti you’d expect it to eliminate to nothing, I thought at first maybe this particle represented nothingness, but I suppose it’s can’t be nothingness that’s formed from the colision if gamma rays are, because something has to counterbalance them, and that would be this new particle. In physics it’s common to create new particles as a way of balancing the books on energy, spin, charge, etc.

    It’s difficult to say how long it’d last; it must be the oposite to light, but high frequency (which, if interaction was quantised might lend it stability because only light of gamma ray frequency could eliminate it)

    “The difference in the power available from a gamma-ray laser compared to a normal laser is the same as the difference between a nuclear explosion and a chemical explosion,” said Dr David Cassidy of the University of California, Riverside, and one of the authors of the paper.

    Chemistry is only the arms-length transfer of electrons, they are so far apart from the carrier atoms that the effects are diluted. Things that head-on interact with the core particles (this and nuclear) can be expected to be much more energetic because the distances are much smaller (I do not know why fields decrease with distance generally, but they do)

    “A gamma-ray laser is the kind of thing that if it existed people would find new uses for it everyday,” said Dr Cassidy.

    Hopefully not in everyday life, or we’d all have cancer by 30 (reminds me of a group of researchers who took a class photo by xray before it was known to damage dna, and all developed cancer)

  2. It’s hope they’ll be able to produce gamma-ray lasers as a step towards kicking off fusion reactors:

    Yes that’s right nice peaceful uses, can’t see any one in the Pentagon saying- “PUT THAT ON A TANK, NOW

    reminds me of a group of researchers who took a class photo by xray before it was known to damage dna, and all developed cancer

    Are you sure about this? How powerful was it? Given the Xrays we get now in hospital, you’d expect a definate effect on the general health of the public.  In 1972 my brother was Xrayed in the womb to see if he was twins. No adverse affects yet seen.

  3. LH- These people were the ones who were first developing xray machinery, they had a lot of exposure in everyday life. Also They might’ve not held back with the intensity before they knew the risk. It was a story a lecturer told, but he gave no names and I can’t be bothered to look.

    “PUT THAT ON A TANK, NOW”

    :LOL: Would be good for sniper rifles – kill someone slowly and silently, they won’t even know you’ve done it until you’re up and outta there, but I wonder how reliable it’d be. Could be used on satelites to snipe and cut w/o bullets, travelling through atmosphere permitting

  4. That was a lot quicker than I expected, Lori. And a bonus kudos to Happyjoim for the follow up quote.

    Easily one of my favorite movies.

  5. (Looks away from screen while scrolling down)
    Real Genius!
    I knew someone else would already have it, but who cares.  When I rented that movie, I ended up watching it 7 times that weekend.  I’m still not sure why.

  6. When I rented that movie, I ended up watching it 7 times that weekend.  I’m still not sure why.

    A moral imperative?

  7. “And Kent, stop playing with yourself!”
    “It IS God!”

    “Uh, I’ll catch up with you guys. I have to go to the bathroom.”

    “Okay, Kent, but I don’t think that’s going to help your confidence any, do you?”

  8. Would be good for sniper rifles

    Lasers are a bit crap anti personel weapons due to the small size of the wound and the fact it’s a ‘burn’ on that small area- you’d have to be sure of hitting a wital organ.  Bullets are good- kinetics rules when it comes to wounds. If all you are trying to do is disable, lasers might work- even though the guy might be up and around quickly you only need the time it takes to occupy the ground. Trouble is there is no ‘zing’ of bullet to get him to keep his head down.

    kill someone slowly and silently

    Snipers like quickly and silently- who wants to hang around.

  9. I was thinking perhaps it could be used to initiate cancer in somebody, but that it’d take awhile to notice, giving time to leave and no indication where it came from. Perhaps could be aimed stright into the head, needs to be a frequency that won’t be scattered by air and not reflected by many (if any) materials. I don’t know whether they’d feel anyting (better if they don’t as that’d be a giveaway). As a narrow-beam it shouldn’t be detectable by another device (save for a helmet designed to detect it) because only the target would be ‘recieving’ it.

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