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Observation of the effect of gravity on the motion of antimatter

E. K. Anderson, Christopher Baker Orcid Logo, W. Bertsche, N. M. Bhatt Orcid Logo, G. Bonomi, A. Capra Orcid Logo, I. Carli Orcid Logo, C. L. Cesar Orcid Logo, Michael Charlton, A. Christensen, R. Collister, April Cridland Orcid Logo, D. Duque Quiceno Orcid Logo, Stefan Eriksson Orcid Logo, A. Evans, N. Evetts, S. Fabbri, J. Fajans Orcid Logo, A. Ferwerda, T. Friesen, M. C. Fujiwara, D. R. Gill, Lukas Golino, M. B. Gomes Gonçalves, P. Grandemange Orcid Logo, P. Granum Orcid Logo, J. S. Hangst Orcid Logo, M. E. Hayden, D. Hodgkinson Orcid Logo, E. D. Hunter, Christopher Aled Isaac Orcid Logo, A. J. U. Jimenez Orcid Logo, M. A. Johnson, Jack Jones, S. A. Jones Orcid Logo, S. Jonsell Orcid Logo, A. Khramov Orcid Logo, Niels Madsen Orcid Logo, L. Martin Orcid Logo, N. Massacret, Daniel Maxwell Orcid Logo, J. T. K. McKenna, S. Menary, T. Momose, M. Mostamand, Patrick Mullan, Janko Nauta, K. Olchanski, A. N. Oliveira Orcid Logo, J. Peszka Orcid Logo, A. Powell Orcid Logo, C. Ø. Rasmussen Orcid Logo, F. Robicheaux Orcid Logo, R. L. Sacramento, M. Sameed Orcid Logo, E. Sarid, J. Schoonwater Orcid Logo, D. M. Silveira, J. Singh Orcid Logo, G. Smith Orcid Logo, C. So, S. Stracka Orcid Logo, G. Stutter Orcid Logo, T. D. Tharp, Kurt Thompson, R. I. Thompson, Edward Thorpe-Woods, C. Torkzaban, M. Urioni Orcid Logo, P. Woosaree, J. S. Wurtele Orcid Logo

Nature, Volume: 621, Issue: 7980, Pages: 716 - 722

Swansea University Authors: Christopher Baker Orcid Logo, Michael Charlton, April Cridland Orcid Logo, Stefan Eriksson Orcid Logo, Lukas Golino, Christopher Aled Isaac Orcid Logo, Jack Jones, Niels Madsen Orcid Logo, Daniel Maxwell Orcid Logo, Patrick Mullan, Janko Nauta, Kurt Thompson, Edward Thorpe-Woods

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Abstract

Einstein’s general theory of relativity from 19151 remains the most successful description of gravitation. From the 1919 solar eclipse2 to the observation of gravitational waves3, the theory has passed many crucial experimental tests. However, the evolving concepts of dark matter and dark energy ill...

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Published in: Nature
ISSN: 0028-0836 1476-4687
Published: Springer Science and Business Media LLC 2023
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa64655
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Abstract: Einstein’s general theory of relativity from 19151 remains the most successful description of gravitation. From the 1919 solar eclipse2 to the observation of gravitational waves3, the theory has passed many crucial experimental tests. However, the evolving concepts of dark matter and dark energy illustrate that there is much to be learned about the gravitating content of the universe. Singularities in the general theory of relativity and the lack of a quantum theory of gravity suggest that our picture is incomplete. It is thus prudent to explore gravity in exotic physical systems. Antimatter was unknown to Einstein in 1915. Dirac’s theory4 appeared in 1928; the positron was observed5 in 1932. There has since been much speculation about gravity and antimatter. The theoretical consensus is that any laboratory mass must be attracted6 by the Earth, although some authors have considered the cosmological consequences if antimatter should be repelled by matter7,8,9,10. In the general theory of relativity, the weak equivalence principle (WEP) requires that all masses react identically to gravity, independent of their internal structure. Here we show that antihydrogen atoms, released from magnetic confinement in the ALPHA-g apparatus, behave in a way consistent with gravitational attraction to the Earth. Repulsive ‘antigravity’ is ruled out in this case. This experiment paves the way for precision studies of the magnitude of the gravitational acceleration between anti-atoms and the Earth to test the WEP.
Keywords: Einstein’s general theory of relativity, gravity, antimatter, dark matter
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Funders: This work was supported by: CNPq, FAPERJ, RENAFAE (Brazil); NSERC, NRC/TRIUMF, EHPDS/EHDRS, CFI, DRAC (Canada); FNU (Nice Centre), Carlsberg Foundation (Denmark); STFC, EPSRC, the Royal Society and the Leverhulme Trust (UK); DOE, NSF (USA); ISF (Israel); and VR (Sweden).
Issue: 7980
Start Page: 716
End Page: 722