Christoph Hugenschmidt and Hubert Ceeh
In our experiment, we bombarded gummy bears with positrons in order to determine experimentally their lifetime at different water contents. In gummy bears an electron and its antiparticle –the positron– form an exotic atom called positronium. We succeeded in demonstrating that the annihilation rate of these positronium atoms* increases clearly for dryer gummy bears. The correspondingly reduced Positronium lifetime can be seen directly in the raw spectra (see figure).
- A four-page version of the study in English and German
- Summary of the study on one page (sorry, only in German)
- To the original scientific publication**
* In general, the components of antimatter are all the antiparticles of the particles that we know in our world. Strictly speaking, antimatter is composed of anti-atoms, i.e., bound states of positrons, antiprotons and anti-neutrons. The bound state of positron and electron can be regarded as the lightest atom of antimatter, where –in contrast to the anti-hydrogen atom– the core is not an antiproton, but an electron. In our study, we investigated the so-called ortho-positronium wherein the electron and positron spins are aligned parallel.
**Therein you’ll find detailed information of this study: the positron lifetime spectrometer, variation of the lifetime in the biopolymer under axial pressure, complementary calorimetric measurements to determine the glass transition temperatures, further calculations and explanations as well as references to the specialist literature.