What is the Difference Between Matter and Antimatter?

Updated on January 29, 2018
1701TheOriginal profile image

Leonard Kelley holds a bachelor's in physics with a minor in mathematics. He loves the academic world and strives to constantly explore it.

Source

The difference between these two forms of matter is more elementary than it seems. What we call matter is everything that is composed of protons (sub-atomic particle with a positive charge), electrons (sub-atomic particle with a negative charge), and neutrons (sub-atomic particle with no charge). All these particles form what we call atoms. In the atom, the protons and neutrons make up the nucleus, which is the core, and the electrons orbit the nucleus much like a planet around a star.

In antimatter, the charges of each particle are reversed. Instead of a proton, its antimatter equivalent is called an anti-proton with a negative charge. Instead of an electron, its antimatter equivalent is called a positron with a positive charge. The exception to this reversal rule is the neutron, whose antimatter counterpart, the anti-neutron, shares the same traits (since a neutron has no charge, its anti-form would retain no charge).

If one were to combine antimatter and matter together, you would create a large explosion of energy. This is caused by joining the opposite charges of each counterpart, which thus causes them to be reversed into the form of energy based on the equation e=mc^2, e meaning energy, m equaling mass, and c equaling the speed of light, roughly 186,000 miles per second. But not to worry, since the only method of generating antimatter on Earth, involving particle accelerators, only produces a few particles at a time, thus preventing any disastrous reactions.

In fact, scientists were able to create an antiatom in 1995.This hinted at the ability to take several of these and make an antimolecule. In 2007, David Cassidy at the University of California at Riverside was able to take two positronium atoms, each one consisting of an electron and a positron in a strange bond, and combined them into an antimolecule (Dickinson 16). Of course, the molecule was short-lived as the electron and positron annihilated each other.

Something that scientists are unsure of is if antimatter falls differently than normal matter. It seems like such a silly thing to question but we do not have evidence to show how antimatter responds to gravity. Using new super-cooling techniques and interferometry, scientists may be able to finally know by slowing down the antiatom and measuring its behavior (Choi). Who knows what new advances will be made that make use of these differences, but as we can see many similarities also exist.

Works Cited

Choi, Charles Q. "Does Antimatter Fall Up or Down? New Device May Provide Answer." HuffingtonPost.com. N.p., 01 Apr. 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.

Dickinson, Boonsri. "Antimatter Annihilation." Discover Dec. 2007: 19. Print.

Questions & Answers

    © 2009 Leonard Kelley

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • 1701TheOriginal profile imageAUTHOR

        Leonard Kelley 

        3 years ago

        I will definitely give it a read.

      • Ruth Angel profile image

        Ruth Mata 

        3 years ago from New Mexico

        I am currently working on my latest Hub, I should be getting ready to publish it today. I hope you get a chance to check it out! :)

      • 1701TheOriginal profile imageAUTHOR

        Leonard Kelley 

        3 years ago

        Another example of the dynamics of science! It is overlapping and a beautiful tapestry.

      • Ruth Angel profile image

        Ruth Mata 

        3 years ago from New Mexico

        I find it completely fascinating that it is postulated that the big bang was what it was BECAUSE of the matter-antimatter pairs.

      • 1701TheOriginal profile imageAUTHOR

        Leonard Kelley 

        4 years ago

        And with new potential observations of dark matter we may finally have clues to their existence, or if it is even possible. Who knows!

      • Blackspaniel1 profile image

        Blackspaniel1 

        4 years ago

        I would get the impression the other subatomic particles are not in the summary of matter above, but they are indeed matter or antimatter, depending. As an extension, since dark matter does not absorb light as it would if it were atoms, it will be interesting to see if there is to be dark antimatter.

      • profile image

        prabhat 

        4 years ago

        IIts helped in project thanks a lot....

      • profile image

        Grandaddy 

        6 years ago

        This is sum good learning tools. if you really want to learn try this page. thanks................

      • profile image

        curious 

        7 years ago

        really a wonderful explanation...... u made my day

      • profile image

        KnowledgeSeeker 

        7 years ago

        Very Simple Yet Informative .

        best way to start learning anti-matter :D

      • 1701TheOriginal profile imageAUTHOR

        Leonard Kelley 

        7 years ago

        We can create anti-matter using particle accelerators and we can capture it using a magnetic field. Electric charges and magnetic fields are representative of the EM force, and when you create the right magnetic field, anti-matter will hover. So long as this field is created in a vacuum, no explosion between anti-matter and matter will occur.

      • profile image

        Paul 

        7 years ago

        If, when antimatter touches matter results in an explosion, then how are we able to capture or create anti-matter with tools that are made with matter.

      • 1701TheOriginal profile imageAUTHOR

        Leonard Kelley 

        7 years ago

        Jay Estux, if you look at the sub-atomic particles that make up each atomic particle, you will find that many components make up what we call protons, neutrons, and electrons.

      • profile image

        Jay Estux 

        7 years ago

        Thanks for this help. The info about proton/anti-proton was helpful. I am constructing a physics theory about annihilation. My theory is halfway there as it explains why two identical particles, with their only difference being that they have opposite charges, annihilate. What I can't seem to grasp is what is an anti-neutron. It has charge of 0 therefore the opposite of 0 is 0 therefore it has the same charge. The anti-neutron and neutron can't be exactly the same as then they are the same particles and therefore the neutron in the nucleus(es) of atoms would annihilate each other. Do they have another reversed property such as spin, are they their own anti-particle and do they even exist.

      • profile image

        aashish 

        8 years ago

        thanks dude....

      • profile image

        Harry 

        8 years ago

        Thanks - felt like reading something interesting and this sure met the standard!! :D

      • profile image

        Nick 

        8 years ago

        Helped me finish my response for physics, thanks man

      • profile image

        Jimmy 

        8 years ago

        Thanks a lot mate, helps to clarify things :)

      • 1701TheOriginal profile imageAUTHOR

        Leonard Kelley 

        8 years ago

        I am glad I could help you Brian!

      • profile image

        Brian 

        8 years ago

        Yes ... thank you very much for a very simple yet articulate explanation of matter and antimatter.

      • profile image

        sam 

        8 years ago

        thanks a lot

      • 1701TheOriginal profile imageAUTHOR

        Leonard Kelley 

        9 years ago

        I am glad this was helpful, thank you both for the nice comments!

      • profile image

        ANITMATTER 

        9 years ago

        Hey thank you so much for writing this down you really broke it down to the basic...Thanks ;)

      • profile image

        SEIF 

        9 years ago

        Very helpful! =)

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)