An international team of scientists, including researchers from Simon Fraser and the University of B.C., hope to delve into some of the universe’s fundamental questions after successfully capturing and holding atomic antimatter for the first time ever.

The historic breakthrough was announced yesterday in the science journal Nature.

SFU physics professor Michael Hayden was part of a collaboration — based at the CERN facility in Geneva, Switzerland —which consists of 40 scientists from eight countries.

“No one has ever managed to hang on to them,” Hayden said in a release.

“Within a tiny fraction of a second, the newly produced antimatter atoms collide with some ordinary matter and disappear in a flash. We’ve managed to create a complicated magnetic bottle in which the antimatter can be stored.”

With this discovery, Hayden said, it becomes possible to perform careful measurements and look for minute differences between matter and antimatter atoms.

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