Antihydrogen Synthesis & Trapping

3. Stacking

Once trapped it is now possible to repeat the procedures of mixing and trapping, but without de-energising the magnetic trap after each repeat. This means that one can continuously add new antihydrogen atoms to the trap, losing only a few due to their naturally short lifetime in a world of normal matter.

The lifetime of antihydrogen in the trap seems long (many hours) and mainly limited by the risk of annihilation of the residual gas in the chamber. This means that we can accumulate antihydrogen from many hours of trapping experiments. Antiprotons arrive every two minutes from the AD, but due to preparation time, we can only exploit every second shot for stacking, thus we accumulate about 20 antihydrogen atoms every 4 minutes, an exercise we’ve run for up to 8 hours accumulating more than 1000 anti-atoms.