ANTIMATTER IS NOT AN ENERGY SOURCE WE CAN VIABLE USE

shootceaselessUrban and Civil

Nov 16, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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ANTIMATTER IS NOT AN ENERGY SOURCE WE
CAN VIABLE USE

[
CERN; 2011; Can antimatt
er be used as an energy source;
http://angelsanddemons.web.cern.ch/faq/antimatter
-
to
-
create
-
energy
; Retrieved 27 January 2012]

Unfortunately, however,
antimatter cannot be used
as an energy source. Although the annihilation of matter and
antimatter releases energy, antimatter does not occur in nature: it has to be created. This requires in itself a lot of
energy. Even the storage of antimatter requires a lot of energy.

The ineffi
ciency of antimatter production is
enormous: you get only a tenth of a billion (10
-
10
) of the invested energy back. If we could assemble all the
antimatter we've ever made at CERN and annihilate it with matter, we would have only enough energy to light a
single electric light bulb for a few minutes.


ANTIMATTER IS VERY DIFFICULT TO CONTAIN

[CERN; 2011; Can antimatter be used as an energy source;
http://angelsanddemons.web.cern.ch/faq/antimatter
-
to
-
create
-
energy; Retrieved 27 January 2012]

It is very diffi
cult to contain antimatter, because any contact between a particle and its anti
-
particle leads to their
immediate annihilation
.
For

electrically charged

antimatter particles

we know how to contain them by using
‘electromagnetic traps’. These traps make it
possible to contain up to about
10
12

(anti
-
) particles of the same charge.
However,

like charges repel each other. So
it is not possible to store a much larger quantity of e.g. antiprotons
because the repulsive forces between them would become too strong f
or the electromagnetic fields to
hold them
away from the walls.
For
electrically neutral

anti
-
particles or anti
-
atoms, the situation is even more difficult. It is
impossible to use constant electric or magnetic fields to contain neutral antimatter, because these fields have no grip
on the particles at all. Scientists work on ideas to use ‘mag
netic bottles’ (with inhomogeneous magnetic fields acting
on the magnetic moment), or ‘optical traps’ (using lasers) but this is still under development.

THE PRICE TO PRODUCE ANTIMATTER IS INSANE

[Titus
-
Armand;
2010
; For the first time in history, CERN sc
ientist trap anti
-
matter [science];
http://armannd.com/for
-
the
-
first
-
time
-
in
-
history
-
cern
-
scientists
-
trap
-
antimatter.html/; Retrieved 27 January
2012]

The reason why I’m not extremely excited about the news is that

at the current antimatter production rate
, CERN would need to spend 2
quadrillion dollars and run the antimatter facility for 2 billion years in order to produce 1 gram of it.

NO POSSIBILITY TO USE ANTIMATTER AS AN ENERGY SOURCE

[Titus
-
Armand; 2010; For

the first time in history, CERN scientist trap anti
-
matter [science];
http://armannd.com/for
-
the
-
first
-
time
-
in
-
history
-
cern
-
scientists
-
trap
-
antimatter.html/; Retrieved 27 January
2012]

And that one
-
gram would probably be used to make a bomb, because that’
s how humankind rolls.
There is no
possibility to use antimatter as energy ‘source’.

Unlike solar energy, coal or oil, antimatter does not occur in
nature;

we first have to make every single antiparticle, and we have to invest (much) more energy than we ge
t back
during annihilation. You can imagine antimatter as a storage medium for energy, much like you store electricity in
rechargeable batteries.

The process of charging the battery is reversible with relatively small loss.

Still, it takes more
energy to c
harge the battery than you get back.

The inefficiency of antimatter production is enormous: you get only
a tenth of a billion (10
-
10
) of the invested energy back. If we could assemble all the antimatter we've ever made at
CERN and annihilate it with matter
, we would have enough energy to light a single electric light bulb for a few
minutes.

THERE IS NOT ENOUGH
RESEARCH TO VALIDATE ANTIMATTER
AS THE SOLUTION TO
OUR
ENERGY NEEDS


[CERN; 2011; Can antimatter be used as an energy source;
http://angelsanddemons.web.cern.ch/faq/antimatter
-
to
-
create
-
energy; Retrieved 27 January 2012]

No,
even more research will not change this situation fundamentally; antimatter is certainly not able to solve our
energy problems. First of all, you need energy

to make antimatter (E=mc
2
) and unfortunately you do not get the
same amount of energy back out of it.


Furthermore, the conversion from energy to matter and antimatter particles follows certain laws of nature, which
also allow the production of many other
, but very short
-
lived particles and antiparticles (e.g. muons, pions,
neutrinos). These particles decay rapidly during the production process, and their energy is lost.

Antimatter could only become a source of energy if you happened to find a large amoun
t of antimatter lying around
somewhere (e.g. in a distant galaxy), in the same way we find oil and oxygen lying around on Earth.

But as far as we
can see (billions of light years), the universe is entirely made of
normal

matter, and antimatter has to be
pa
instakingly created.

By the way, this shows that the symmetry between matter and antimatter as stated above does not seem to hold at
very high energies, such as shortly after the Big Bang, as otherwise there should be as much matter as antimatter in
the Un
iverse. Future research might tell us is how this asymmetry came about.

ANTIMATTER IS EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT

[CERN; 2011; Can antimatter be used as an energy source;
http://angelsanddemons.web.cern.ch/faq/antimatter
-
to
-
create
-
energy; Retrieved 27 January
2012]

…theoretically E=mc
2

because half of the energy will become normal matter.

So you gain nothing.



But the process of creating antimatter is highly inefficient;

when you dissipate energy into particles with mass, many
different
-

also short
-
lived
-

pa
rticles and antiparticles are produced. A major part of the energy gets lost, and a lot of
the stable antimatter
-
particles (e.g. positrons and antiprotons) go astray before you can catch them. Everything
happens at nearly the speed of light, and the partic
les created zoom off in all directions. Somewhat like cooking food
over a campfire:

most of the heat is lost and does not go into the cooking of the food, it disappears as radiation into
the dark night sky. Very inefficient.

COLLECTING
ENOUGH ANTIMATTER,
ANTIHYDROGEN ATOMS WOULD TAKE BILLIONS OF
YEARS

[CERN; 2011; Can antimatter be used as an energy source;
http://angelsanddemons.web.cern.ch/faq/antimatter
-
to
-
create
-
energy; Retrieved 27 January 2012]

The team of the PS210 experiment at the Low Energy Antip
roton Ring (LEAR) at CERN made the first anti
-
hydrogen atoms in 1995. Then, in 2002 two experiments (ATHENA and ATRAP) managed to produce tens of
thousands of antihydrogen atoms, later even millions.


However, although "tens of thousands" may sound a lot,
it's
really a very, very small amount.


You would need 10,000,000,000,000,000
[10 Quadrillion]
times that amount to
have enough anti
-
hydrogen gas to fill a toy balloon!


If we could somehow store our daily production, it would take
us several billion years

to fill the balloon.

But the universe has been around for only 13.7 billion years...



CERN DOES NOT MAKE OR ATTEMPT TO MAKE ANTIMATTER FOR THE PURPOSES OF
PRODUCING ENERGY BUT TO UNDERSTAND THE FUNCTIONS OF SCIENCE

[CERN; 2011; Can antimatter be used as
an energy source;
http://angelsanddemons.web.cern.ch/faq/antimatter
-
to
-
create
-
energy; Retrieved 27 January 2012]

The reason for building the LHC
(Large Hadron Collider)
accelerator is not to make antimatter but to produce an
energy concentration high enoug
h to study effects that will help us to understand some of the remaining questions in
physics.

We say concentrations, because we are not talking about huge amounts but an enormous concentration of
energy.

Each particle accelerated in the LHC carries an amo
unt of energy equivalent to that of a flying

mosquito.

Not
much at all in absolute terms, but it will be concentrated in a very minute volume, and there things will resemble the state
of the universe very
shortly (about a trillionth of a second) after the
Big Bang.

You should compare the concentration effect to what you can learn about the quality of
a wooden floor by walking over it.

If a large man wearing normal shoes and a petite woman wearing sharp stiletto heels walk over the same floor,
the man will n
ot make dents, but the woman, despite her
lower weight, may leave marks;

the pressure created by the stiletto heels is far higher.

So
that is like the job of the LHC: concentrate a little energy into a very minute space to produce a huge energy concentrati
on and learn something
about the Big Bang.

In fact, why do you make antimatter at CERN?

The principal reason is to study the laws of nature. The
current theories of physics predict a number of subtle effects concerning antimatter.

If experiments do not obs
erve
these predictions, then the theory is not accurate and needs to be amended or reworked.

This is how science
progresses.

Another reason is to get extremely high energy densities in collisions of matter and antimatter particles, since they annihil
ate
co
mpletely when they meet.

From this annihilation energy other interesting particles may be created. This was mainly how the Large Electron
Positron (LEP) collider functioned at CERN until 2000, or the Tevatron currently operates at Fermilab near Chicago.


S
EVERAL GRAMS OF ANTIMATTER ARE NOT ONLY DANGEROUS, BUT WOULD TAKE
BILLIONS OF YEARS

[CERN; 2011; Can antimatter be used as an energy source;
http://angelsanddemons.web.cern.ch/faq/antimatter
-
to
-
create
-
energy; Retrieved 27 January 2012]

Perfectly safe,
given the minute quantities we can make.


It would be very dangerous if we could make a few grams
of it, but this would take us billions of years.