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Mexican scientists study anti-matter

Scientists from renowned Mexican universities will study the origins of the universe at JINR, in Russia

Mexican scientists study anti-matter in Russia
NICA will study state changes between ordinary nuclear matter and quark-gluon plasma at a broader range of temperatures and densities than those achievable by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN - Photo: NASA
English 24/07/2018 18:57 EFE Mexico City Actualizada 18:59
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With the purpose of understanding the origin of the universe and study some of the possible causes of an unbalance between matter and anti-matter, as well as the way nuclear matter behaves at high temperatures and densities, scientists from the Nuclotron-based Ion Collider Facility (NICA) at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in the Russian Federation have come up with the Multipurpose Detector (MDP) international experiment.

Mexico will be one of the 30 countries participating, with a group called MexNICA, which gathers investigators from six renowned national institutions. Led by José Alejandro Ayala Mercado, investigator at the Nuclear Science Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), MexNICA has scientists from the University of Colima, the University of Sonora, the CINVESTAV-CDMX, the Autonomous University of Sinaloa, and the Autonomous University of Puebla.

At present, the universe has a very large amount of matter in relation to anti-matter. According to Ayala Mercado, the Big Bang originally produced a particle of anti-matter for every particle of matter of equal mass but an opposite electrical charge. When one of them comes into contact with the other, the particles annihilate each other producing radiation. Anti-particles can also form clusters and become anti-matter atoms. For instance, an anti-electron (an electron with a positive charge, also called positron), and an anti-proton (a proton with a negative charge) are capable of forming an atom of anti-matter.

The investigator states that anti-matter can only be produced through a violent particle collision between particles coming from outer space (such as those present in cosmic radiation) and terrestrial atoms.

Ayala Mercado explained that NICA is a heavy core atom collider designed to accelerate these types of particles close to the speed of light and make them crash into each other. In this way, scientists are able to study the fundamental properties of matter. In fact, the conditions obtained through the collider are not very different to those that occurred a fraction of a second after the Big Bang.

In everyday life, matter is present in three basic states: Solid, liquid, and gas. Another possible example would be plasma, in which charged particles roam free. The quark-gluon plasma is an example of this fourth state, and can be produced through high-energy nuclear collisions. When exposed to extremely high temperatures and densities, nuclear matter presents signs of transition to the plasma state. NICA will allow scientists to understand the nature of these phase transitions.

Furthermore, NICA will study state changes between ordinary nuclear matter and quark-gluon plasma at a broader range of temperatures and densities than those achievable by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. As temperature and density change, scientists will be able to describe its characteristics.
 

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