First results with the ALPHA antihydrogen apparatus

Antihydrogen is the simplest atomic system composed entirely of antiparticles. It can be used to test the CPT theorem through the comparison of the antihydrogen and hydrogen spectra, as well as being necessary for the study of gravitational interaction with antimatter. The ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus) project is an international collaboration based at CERNís Antiproton Decelerator facility with the goal of trapping and performing high-precision measurements on antihydrogen. ALPHA has constructed an innovative and versatile apparatus that combines the technologies of ion trapping (nested Penning traps to accumulate and mix the positrons and antiprotons) and atom trapping (a magnetic bottle to confine the antihydrogen atoms) with the difficulties of working with antiparticles. This talk will describe the ALPHA apparatus and its operation. Results will be given from the first run, including the demonstration of antihydrogen production in the new apparatus and the storage of charged antimatter plasmas in the octupolar magnetic trapping field [1]. Reference: [1] G. Andresen et al. (ALPHA Collaboration) Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 023402 (2007).