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Scientists Generate Powerful Antimatter Ray

Researchers at North Carolina State University have produced the world's most powerful antimatter beam.

"There is a reactor in Munich, Germany, that has been generating those types of radiation beams for some time now, and our analysis of the data shows that we have exceeded what they have reported," Dr. Ayman Hawari, director of the Nuclear Reactor Program at North Carolina State, told the university's Web site.

The beam, consisting of an intense burst of positrons, was generated at the school's PULSTAR campus nuclear reactor, which first went online in 1972.

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A positron is the "mirror image" of an electron — it has the same weight and properties of the most basic atomic particle, but is positively rather than negatively charged.

Theoretical physicists believe there are equal amounts of matter and antimatter in the universe, but few antimatter particles have been found "in the wild."

North Carolina State researcher hope the positron beam will form the basis of antimatter-based instruments.

• Click here to read the story at the North Carolina State University Web site.