Eve Stenson, Ph.D., FCRH ’04, Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, will present “En Route to Confining Electron-Positron “Pair Plasmas” in the Laboratory.
It’s pretty widely known what happens when matter and antimatter get together: They annihilate, their mass turned into energy. But if the particles in question are electrons and positrons in a strategically chosen regime (i.e., temperatures of ~10,000 K and ultra-low densities of less than a trillionth of the air around us), that process can be expected to take quite a while—at least minutes, if not hours. And in the meantime, that mix of collectively interacting, positively and negatively charged particles, all with identical mass, form a uniquely symmetric system for investigating fundamental plasma physics. The motivation is to verify and improve our understanding both of terrestrial fusion confinement devices and certain features of our universe, past and present. Sound like an exciting prospect? All you need is enough antimatter, somewhere to combine it with matter, and a few parts in between. In short, this seminar will be about real-life “antimatter containment fields,” where to get the antimatter from in the first place, and some of the neat things you can do with it.
This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.