The ALICE experiment at CERN this week published a study of antimatter remaining after the Big Bang and concludes that it has not been ruled out. In an article in the NRC (in Dutch), Nikhef researcher Suzan Besegmez du Pree commented on the publication.
The ALICE experiment in one of the large experiments at the LHC accelerator at CERN. Nikhef is one of the partners in the project, in which the accelerator shoots heavy atomic nuclei at each other. This creates so-called quark-gluon plasma, which is studied with the detector.
Collision conditions are similar to those just after the Big Bang. The permeability of the plasma for antimatter is one of the study topics of ALICE. When particles meet their antiparticles they destroy each other. The question is how often that happens.
No Nikhef physicists are participating in this particular study. Suzan Besegmez de Pree works in Nikhef’s KM3NeT group, which makes measurements of neutrinos. She is also involved in the AMS-02 project aboard space station ISS, which searches for signals of antimatter that could possibly be related to the disintegration of dark matter.