How long antihydrogen atoms linger in the ALPHA magnetic trap is an important characteristic of the ALPHA apparatus. The initial trapping experiments in 2010 (Andresen Nature 468, 673–676, 2010) were conducted with 38 detected antiatoms confined for 172 ms and in 2011 (Andresen Nature Phys. 7, 558–564, 2011) with seven for 1000 s. Long confinement times are necessary to perform detailed frequency scans during spectroscopic measurements. An analysis carried out, using machine learning methods, on more than 1000 antiatoms confined for several hours in the ALPHA-2 magnetic trap, yields a preliminary lower limit to the lifetime of 66 hours. Hence this observation suggests that the measured confinement time of antihydrogen is extended by more than two orders of magnitude.
Andrea Capra & ALPHA Collaboration