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Molecular Science
Vol. 6 (2012) No. 1 p. A0053-




Antihydrogen, the opposite number of hydrogen, is the simplest antimatter, and stable in vacuum, which guarantees a long observation time for high precision spectroscopy. This review discusses a short history of antimatter followed by the motivation of the cold antihydrogen research, and then a couple of latest results, which open a new era of antihydrogen research enabling high precision spectroscopy for the first time. A comparison of the spectroscopic properties of antihydrogen with those of hydrogen constitutes a stringent test of the CPT symmetry, the most fundamental law of physics. One of the important achievements of cold antihydrogen study in the last couple of years is the trapping of antihydrogen atoms in an octupole magnetic bottle. Considering the bottle depth, the trapped antihydrogen atoms were really cold, less than 0.5K in their temperature. High precision laser spectroscopy of 1S-2S transition is foreseen once antihydrogen atoms can be laser-cooled. The other milestone development was a successful synthesis of antihydrogen atoms in a so-called cusp trap, where an anti-Helmholtz coil configuration is adopted. The cusp trap enables extraction of antihydrogen atoms in a field-free region as an intensified spin-polarized beam,which realizes high resolution microwave spectroscopy of ground state hyperfine transitions.

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