Scientists working on the Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA) at Cern’s particle physics laboratory had very exciting quarter hour recently. The team conjured and contained atoms of antihydrogen for a full 1,000 seconds--that’s nearly 17 minutes and 10,000 times longer than they were previously able to keep antimatter around before it disappeared in burst of particle-on-particle annihilations.
Antihydrogen is the antiparticle to hydrogen (but you might have guessed that), and is of interest to researchers because, basically, we don’t know a whole lot about antihydrogen specifically and antimatter generally. That’s because it’s notoriously difficult to study. Put antihydrogen and hydrogen in contact and you end up with nothing. The two will annihilate each other, essentially canceling each other out.