Electrons and positrons in an optimised stellarator
The Helmholtz Young Investigators Group "Electrons and Positrons in an Optimized Stellarator", established at the end of 2019, is working on creating a plasma of electrons and their antiparticles, the positrons.
The aim of this new branch of the APEX collaboration is to confine a matter-antimatter plasma in a magnetic cage of a small optimized stellarator. It is much simpler but still related to the large stellarator devices of fusion researchers such as Wendelstein 7-X in Greifswald.
Magnetically confined matter-antimatter plasmas have been investigated theoretically and computationally for several decades. However, such a plasma has never been produced in the laboratory before. According to theory, it should show special properties, such as being very stably trapped in certain magnetic field configurations, including optimised stellarators. The aim of the new junior research group will be to produce such plasmas and to investigate them experimentally.
The investigation of exotic matter-antimatter plasmas is expected to provide fundamental insights into the physics of plasmas in general and opportunities to test computational simulations of plasma behaviour. It should even be possible to gain new insights about optimisation that can be used for the planning of new stellarators for fusion research. Since it is assumed that matter-antimatter plasmas occur in the vicinity of neutron stars and black holes, it is also astrophysically interesting to investigate these strange plasmas.