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Scientists Believe They Are Closer to Measuring Antimatter's Precise Magnetic Charge

Mar 25, 2013 05:09 PM EDT

A team of scientists believe they have discovered the most precise measurement of the magnetic charges of matter and anti-matter particles yet.

Led by Harvard physicist Gerald Gabrielse, the team captured individual protons and antiprotons in an electromagnetic trap where they remained suspended long enough for the scientists to measure their oscillations. The group also used the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, in their experiments.

Theory states that matter and antimatter are equal in mass and magnitude of their charges; the only difference is that their charges are opposite.The measurements Gabrielse and his team came up with in their research match this model.

However, this is just the beginning, according to Gabrielse.

Using this information he and other scientists hope to get to the bottom of some of the universe's greatest mysteries: Why is the universe made of matter and not antimatter? And why hasn't matter and antimatter completely annihilated each other already?

The theory many scientists believe regarding matter and antimatter is that most of it was destroyed shortly after the Big Bang as the two collided and essentially canceled each other out due to their equal but opposite charges.

While Gabrielse and his colleagues cannot answer these questions yet, they believe their recent discovery has moved them closer to the answer.

In all, the measurement of the antiproton was increased in precision by a factor of 680, according to Live Science. 

However, Gabrielse, believes that "given this start, we're going to be able to increase the accuracy of these measurements by another factor of 1,000, or even 10,000."

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