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/content/aip/journal/adva/2/1/10.1063/1.3698146
2012-03-21
2016-12-03

Abstract

A Monte Carlo simulation is presented of an experiment that could potentially determine whether antihydrogen accelerates vertically up or down as a result of earth's gravity. The experiment would rely on methods developed by existing antihydrogen research collaborations and would employ a Penning trap for the production of antihydrogen within a uniform magnetic field. The axis of symmetry of the cylindrical trap wall would be oriented horizontally, and an axisymmetric aperture (with an inner radius that is smaller than the cylindrical trap wall radius) would be present a short distance away from the antihydrogen production region. Antihydrogen annihilations that occur along the cylindrical trap wall would be detected by the experiment. The distribution of annihilations along the wall would vary near the aperture, because some antihydrogen that would otherwise annihilate at the wall would instead annihilate on the aperture. That is, a shadow region forms behind the aperture, and the distribution of annihilations near the boundary of the shadow region is not azimuthally symmetric when the effect of gravity is significant. The Monte Carlo simulation is used together with analytical modeling to determine conditions under which the annihilation distribution would indicate the direction of the acceleration of antihydrogen due to gravity.

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