When the universe was born nearly 14 billion years ago, it created matter and antimatter, which destroy each other at the meeting. Particles of antimatter of the same mass as the particles of matter, but their electric charges are opposite. The most famous example is the electron (normal negatively charged particle) and a positron (positively charged particle). But if in the beginning there was matter and antimatter, why then there was only the matter? This question is one of the defining mysteries of physics. For decades, theorists have come up with potential solutions, most of which assumed the existence in the Universe of additional, unknown particles. But whatever the final answer, scientists believe they have made a step towards a final understanding of one of the greatest mysteries of the Universe: why it exists at all.
The war of matter and antimatter
A group of scientists from Japan published a study in the journal Nature about the discovery of fundamental particles that can be responsible for uneven distribution of matter and antimatter in the Universe. Agree, it would be logical to assume that if at birth the Universe appeared the same number of particles and antiparticles, they would have just destroyed each other. In this case, us and the cosmos itself would not exist. But we exist, and therefore it did not happen.
As suggested by the authors of the study, the existence of the Universe was possible because the substance slightly exceeded the amount of antimatter. Roughly speaking, only one particle in a billion pairs of particle-antiparticle changed everything. This violation of symmetry between matter and antimatter is called baryon asymmetry. Due to the huge proton accelerator and 9 years study of the data on their experiments, the scientists were able to reveal today the most convincing proof that the cause of asymmetry was the behavior of neutrinos – subatomic particles, a huge burst which occurred during the Big Bang. When neutrinos eventually broke up, then according to this theory formed the by-products of more matter than antimatter.
The thing is that neutrinos are much lighter than quarks and pass through space almost without stopping to interact with anything at all. But since there is matter and antimatter exist as ordinary neutrinos that we know of, and extremely heavy neutrinos. These particles are so giant that could only be created from the vast energies and temperatures present immediately after the Big Bang, when the universe was very hot and dense.
The inevitable decay of these particles into smaller and more stable the species, could lead to a slightly greater amount of matter than by-products of antimatter that would lead to the existing structure of our Universe, writes Scientific American.
Experiment Tokai to Kamioka
The results of the experiment called the Tokai to Kamioka (T2K) showed that there is a 95% probability that neutrino decay into an uneven proportion of matter and antimatter.
It is important to note that the vast majority of neutrinos or antineutrinos pass through the earth like our planet does not exist. By the way, precisely because of this ability of the neutrino and are called Ghost particles.
In the experiment, scientists have observed neutrinos when they raced 295 kilometers underground and changed your grade is a kind of ability of neutrinos called neutrino oscillation. Underground detector laboratory Kamioka in Japan is a tank filled with 55 000 tons of pure water. When a neutrino interacts with a neutron in the tank, the result can be born a muon (an unstable elementary particle with a negative electric charge) or electron. It is this shift of muon neutrinos and muon antineutrinos in their “mirror” shape – electron neutrino and an electron antineutrino has interested scientists. Read more about what muons and what other ways scientists are searching for neutrinos, read our material.
However to accurately measure how much different neutrinos and antineutrinos, would require additional data and possible future experiments. It is important to understand that to completely solve the problem of cosmic antimatter, the scientists can not. The fact that the solution to this fundamental issue requires further requirement of neutrinos and antineutrinos must be one and the same substance. But how is this possible?
It is believed that matter and antimatter are identical except for opposite electric charge. Neutrinos, having no charge, can be both at the same time.