Enhancing detection precision could shed light on the matter–antimatter imbalance
The Standard Model of particle physics, put forth in the1970s and modified along the way, is still the most complete description we have of our particle universe – nevertheless, it has acknowledged gaps. For every type of matter particle we have identified (12 total), there is a corresponding antimatter particle, or antiparticle. However, it is not clear why we observe so much more matter in the universe than antimatter. Normal 'baryonic' matter (protons, neutrons and electrons) makes up less than five percent of the universe. About a fourth seems to comprise invisible 'dark matter' and about 70 % a force that repels gravity known as dark energy. The EU-funded STEP project seeks to explore these mysteries through a high-precision study of protons and antiprotons made possible by isolating the latter from common sources of noise.
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