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  1. Abstract The positron, the antiparticle of the electron, predicted by Dirac in 1931 and discovered by Anderson in 1933, plays a key role in many scientific and everyday endeavours. Notably, the positron is a constituent of antihydrogen, the only long-lived neutral antimatter bound state that can currently be synthesized at low energy, presenting a prominent system for testing fundamental symmetries with high precision. Here, we report on the use of laser cooled Be + ions to sympathetically cool a large and dense plasma of positrons to directly measured temperatures below 7 K in a Penning trap for antihydrogen synthesis. This willmore »likely herald a significant increase in the amount of antihydrogen available for experimentation, thus facilitating further improvements in studies of fundamental symmetries.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  2. Abstract The photon—the quantum excitation of the electromagnetic field—is massless but carries momentum. A photon can therefore exert a force on an object upon collision 1 . Slowing the translational motion of atoms and ions by application of such a force 2,3 , known as laser cooling, was first demonstrated 40 years ago 4,5 . It revolutionized atomic physics over the following decades 6–8 , and it is now a workhorse in many fields, including studies on quantum degenerate gases, quantum information, atomic clocks and tests of fundamental physics. However, this technique has not yet been applied to antimatter. Heremore »we demonstrate laser cooling of antihydrogen 9 , the antimatter atom consisting of an antiproton and a positron. By exciting the 1S–2P transition in antihydrogen with pulsed, narrow-linewidth, Lyman-α laser radiation 10,11 , we Doppler-cool a sample of magnetically trapped antihydrogen. Although we apply laser cooling in only one dimension, the trap couples the longitudinal and transverse motions of the anti-atoms, leading to cooling in all three dimensions. We observe a reduction in the median transverse energy by more than an order of magnitude—with a substantial fraction of the anti-atoms attaining submicroelectronvolt transverse kinetic energies. We also report the observation of the laser-driven 1S–2S transition in samples of laser-cooled antihydrogen atoms. The observed spectral line is approximately four times narrower than that obtained without laser cooling. The demonstration of laser cooling and its immediate application has far-reaching implications for antimatter studies. A more localized, denser and colder sample of antihydrogen will drastically improve spectroscopic 11–13 and gravitational 14 studies of antihydrogen in ongoing experiments. Furthermore, the demonstrated ability to manipulate the motion of antimatter atoms by laser light will potentially provide ground-breaking opportunities for future experiments, such as anti-atomic fountains, anti-atom interferometry and the creation of antimatter molecules.« less
  3. Children are said to be a product of both nature and nurture – of their genes and the environment in which they are raised. The cells of the growing liver are not so different in this sense. As the liver of a fetus develops, immature cells called liver progenitors mature to become one of two types of adult cells: the hepatocytes that form the bulk of the liver, or the biliary cells that make up the bile duct. The traditional view is that genetic factors mainly control which cell type the progenitor cells become. However, recent research suggests that themore »environment around the cells matters more in this process than once thought. Cells can respond to the physical properties of their environment, such as the structure and stiffness of the surrounding tissue. These properties change as the liver develops, and can also be altered by disease. For example, damaged liver cells can spit out proteins that harden and form stiff scars. This raises a question: do changes in stiffness affect how progenitor cells behave? To answer this question, Kaylan et al. printed collagen in circular patterns and grew liver progenitor cells on them. The cells at the edges of the circular patterns matured into bile duct cells, while those in the center became hepatocytes. The stiffness felt by the cells was then determined by measuring the level of mechanical stress that they experienced. This revealed that the cells at the edge of the collagen pattern – the cells that became bile duct cells – were under most stress. In addition, more bile duct cells formed when progenitor cells were grown on a stiffer collagen pattern. Overall, the results reported by Kaylan et al. suggest that the stiffness of the environment, and the resulting stresses on a progenitor cell, can influence how it matures. As well as helping us to understand how the liver develops, this knowledge could also help us to treat a group of diseases called cholangiopathies, in which the bile ducts become inflamed. These diseases are thought to be caused by certain cells (which are similar to liver progenitor cells) maturing to become incorrect cell types. Future studies could determine if preventing changes in stiffness in the environment of these cells, or slowing their response to such changes, would help patients.« less
  4. At the historic Shelter Island Conference on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics in 1947, Willis Lamb reported an unexpected feature in the fine structure of atomic hydrogen: a separation of the 2S1/2 and 2P1/2 states1. The observation of this separation, now known as the Lamb shift, marked an important event in the evolution of modern physics, inspiring others to develop the theory of quantum electrodynamics2–5. Quantum electrodynamics also describes antimatter, but it has only recently become possible to synthesize and trap atomic antimatter to probe its structure. Mirroring the historical development of quantum atomic physics in the twentieth century, modernmore »measurements on anti-atoms represent a unique approach for testing quantum electrodynamics and the foundational symmetries of the standard model. Here we report measurements of the fine structure in the n = 2 states of antihydrogen, the antimatter counterpart of the hydrogen atom. Using optical excitation of the 1S–2P Lyman-α transitions in antihydrogen6, we determine their frequencies in a magnetic field of 1 tesla to a precision of 16 parts per billion. Assuming the standard Zeeman and hyperfine interactions, we infer the zero-field fine-structure splitting (2P1/2–2P3/2) in antihydrogen. The resulting value is consistent with the predictions of quantum electrodynamics to a precision of 2 per cent. Using our previously measured value of the 1S–2S transition frequency6,7, we find that the classic Lamb shift in antihydrogen (2S1/2–2P1/2 splitting at zero field) is consistent with theory at a level of 11 per cent. Our observations represent an important step towards precision measurements of the fine structure and the Lamb shift in the antihydrogen spectrum as tests of the charge– parity–time symmetry8 and towards the determination of other fundamental quantities, such as the antiproton charge radius9,10, in this antimatter system.« less