Everyday Antimatter


Doctor James Sullivan (ANU)

The discovery of antimatter was a result of Paul Dirac’s work on a theory of quantum mechanics in the early 1930s. From its beginnings as an exotic byproduct of the quantum mechanical description of the electron, the positron has been the most studied antiparticle, both experimentally and theoretically, and has even found its way into real world applications.

As a part of the Centre for Antimatter-Matter Studies (CAMS), two positron beamlines have been constructed at the Australian National University to study positron interactions and apply them to a variety of problems. The scope of the research spans from fundamental studies of positron-atom interactions to more applied research directed towards materials and medical research.

This talk will cover some of the history of the positron, and then move on to an overview of positron studies in the last few decades. A description of the positron beamlines at the ANU will be presented, showcasing the state-of-the-art techniques employed to produce high quality positron beams. An overview of the CAMS experimental program will be presented, focussing on the experiments performed at the ANU and their application to problems in different fields of physics.