In particle physics, antimatter is material composed of antiparticles, which have the same mass as particles of ordinary matter but have opposite charge and quantum spin. Scientists at the University of Michigan have developed a real-life antimatter gun, or more specifically, “a tabletop gun that creates positrons by shooting lasers at gold.” Continue reading for a video and more information.
The team fired a petawatt laser at a sample of inert helium gas. Doing so caused the creation of a stream of electrons moving at very high speed. Those electrons were directed at a very thin sheet of metal foil which caused them to smash into individual metal atoms. Those collisions resulted in a stream of electron and positron emissions – the two were then separated using magnets.
The researchers report that each blast of their gun lasts just 30 femtoseconds, but each firing results in the production of quadrillions of positrons�a density level comparable to those produced at CERN.