Cold antihydrogen: a new frontier in fundamental physics

The year 2002 heralded a breakthrough in antimatter research when the first low energy antihydrogen atoms were produced. Antimatter has inspired both science and fiction writers for many years, but detailed studies have until now eluded science. Antimatter is notoriously difficult to study as it does not readily occur in nature, even though our current understanding of the laws of physics have us expecting that it should make up half of the universe. The pursuit of cold antihydrogen is driven by a desire to solve this profound mystery. This paper will motivate the current effort to make cold antihydrogen, explain how antihydrogen is currently made, and how and why we are attempting to trap it. It will also discuss what kind of measurements are planned to gain new insights into the unexplained asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the universe.

N. Madsen, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 368, 3671 (2010)