Experimental Cycle

Experimental Cycle

ALPHA is not just one apparatus. The apparatus consists of different sub-elements, which are all produced and maintained by experts from around the world. At CERN we then rebuild these components and make the whole experiment work together.

ALPHA Apparatus Overview


  • 1. Get Antiprotons

    Related physics: Antimatter, Antiproton
    Related equipment: AD

  • 2. Get positrons

    Related physics: Antimatter, Positron
    Related equipment: Sodium source, Positron accumulator

  • 3. Catch antiprotons

    Related physics: Penning Trap
    Related equipment: Catching Trap, Penning Trap

  • 4. Cool and compress antiprotons

    (with electrons)
    Related physics: Plasma physics, electron cooling, rotating wall, evaporative cooling, SDREVC (rotating wall with evaporative cooling)
    Related equipment: Penning Trap

  • 5. Compress and cool positrons

    Related physics: Plasma physics, evaporative cooling, sympathetic cooling (Be+), Laser cooling
    Related equipment: Beryllium source, Beryllium ablation laser, Beryllium cooling laser

  • 6a. Measure plasma size or temperature or particle count

    Related physics: MCP, Detectors, Faraday cup
    Related equipment: MCP, Detectors, Faraday cup
    (Destructive step… so start over!)

  • 6b. Mixing (synthesis of antihydrogen)

    Related physics: Antihydrogen, Mixing
    Related equipment: Atom trap

  • 7. Store antihydrogen

    Related physics: Antihydrogen, loffe-pritchard trap
    Related equipment: Atom trap

  • 8. Interact with antihydrogen

    Time to perform an experiment!
    Related physics: LyALPHA Laser,  243nm-Laser, Microwaves, Gravity Measurements, Charge of antihydrogen
    Related equipment: LyALPHA Laser,  243nm-Laser, Microwave generator

  • 9. Detect antihydrogen losses

    Related physics: Annihilation, Detectors
    Related equipment: SVC, TPC

  • 10. Release antihydrogen

    Turn of the atom trap to see what's left over
    Related physics: Annihilation, Detectors
    Related equipment: SVC, TPC, Atom Trap