The recent demonstration of trapping of antihydrogen atoms by the ALPHA collaboration at CERN opened great possibilities to study antimatter and perform precision measurements on it.
In this work, a retrospective analysis of the 2010 and 2011 experimental runs in ALPHA, together with comprehensive studies of the apparatus and detailed simulations of the manipulations of anti-atoms, are performed and used to measure the electric charge of antihydrogen. This result is an example of a precision measurement on antimatter that may ultimately lead to keys for solving some of the most important problems in physics today, such as the asymmetry between matter and antimatter, by comparison to measurements carried out on “normal” matter atoms.
A procedure similar to the one presented may lead to increased precision with a larger data sample, perhaps using the new ALPHA2 apparatus. Nevertheless, a method using “stochastic heating” is proposed that could increase the precision of the measurement by many orders of magnitude. The technique offers many other advantages that make it very attractive for future experimental implementations.