Initial successes in the search for antimatter

With significant participation of researchers from Aachen the AMS experiment (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer) has achieved initial successes in proving the existence of antimatter, respectively dark matter. On April 3, in the nuclear research centre CERN, Samuel Ting, Physics Nobel Prize Holder and head of the experiment presented initial results which could be derived from the evaluation of 25 billion data collected over a period of 18 months. The work involved tracking the so-called positrons (antiparticles of electrons) and researching their origins.

Since May 2011 the AMS 02 has been on board the International Space Station (ISS) and it is the most powerful and sensitive particle spectrometer that has ever been installed in outer space. The measurements are a hundred times more accurate than everything that has previously been achieved. The supercomputer Juropa at the Jülich research centre evaluates the data which have been generated, while Prof. Lübelsmeyer and his successor, Prof. Schael, at the 1st Physical Institute of the RWTH Aachen, analyse the results.

ISATEC has also been accompanying these AMS experiments for years. Hence, for instance, in 2010 the AMS had to be converted to integrate a permanent magnet and an enlarged track detector within three months. The engineering for the conversion was implemented in close cooperation with the physicists from Aachen, NASA and other international physics institutions. ISATEC was chosen for the engineering work on the basis of its experience and successful work for AMS01: NASA Manager Ken Bollweg wrote the following regarding our previous engineering efforts for the AMS02 TRD, which had already been fitted and successfully tested: "... everything associated with ISATEC functions as it should".