Scientists Convert Pure Energy Into Matter And Antimatter, Creating New Physics
Recent studies published in Physical Review Letters demonstrate how energy, namely light particles, may be used to make matter and antimatter (photons). As a result, it offers a beautifully tangible representation of the most well-known equation in the world, E=mc2.
According to Einstein’s equation, energy (E) is equal to mass (m) times the square of the speed of light (c). The research showed that researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a facility run by the Department of Energy, were able to change pairs of electrons and positrons, which are composed of matter, into light particles, which are formed of energy (matter being that which has mass). Positrons are actually antimatter, yet antimatter also possesses the same energy-mass equivalence as matter.
The matter-antimatter pairs were produced by the researchers utilizing gold ion beams. They created positively charged ions from gold atoms by removing all of their electrons, and then they shot the ions past one another at ultrarelativistic speeds (99.995 percent the speed of light, or roughly 186,000 miles per second).
Although a similar discovery was made in 1997 at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the method used back then was more complex and involved more steps. According to Daniel Brandenburg, a Goldhaber Fellow at Brookhaven Lab, this discovery stands out as “clear evidence of direct, one-step synthesis of matter-antimatter couples from collisions of light as originally predicted by [20th-century physicists Gregory] Breit and [John A.] Wheeler.”
The research also confirms a prior theoretical prediction on the interaction of polarized photons with vacuums in empty space. In the 20th century, scientists made predictions that a vacuum of empty space would deflect particular polarized photons if the vacuum was polarized as well, especially Werner Heisenberg, Hans Heinrich Euler, and John Toll.
Vacuum birefringence is a phenomena that has never been seen in an Earth-based experiment previously.
Certain wavelengths of light are blocked and absorbed by the vacuum and magnetic field in a manner akin to that of polarized sunglasses. It transforms into electron-positron pairs.
Because “…the angular distribution of the [electron-positron couples] relies on the angle of the polarization of the light,” the researchers were able to draw this conclusion. This suggests that the polarization of light affects its absorption (or passage), according to Chi Yang, a STAR colleague from Shandong University.
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