Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: Using antimatter to power an accelerator?

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 09/15/2014
Q:
I know that anti matter is very hard to create and store, making it a less feasible power source, but my question is, why don't we just use some antimatter created in the way we do know, and annihilate it with matter to power a collider to make more antimatter to do the same with? I understand my theory has some flaws probably but in theory, after the initial creation of some anti matter, if we kept this going couldn't this antimatter become a self renewing, exponentially growing power scource, that could have many wide variations?I know that anti matter is very hard to create and store, making it a less feasible power source, but my question is, why don't we just use some antimatter created in the way we do know, and annihilate it with matter to power a collider to make more antimatter to do the same with? I understand my theory has some flaws probably but in theory, after the initial creation of some anti matter, if we kept this going couldn't this antimatter become a self renewing, exponentially growing power scource, that could have many wide variations in use?
- Will (age 14)
Texas, United States
A:

Hi Will,

Nice idea but it won't work.  The reason is that it takes more energy to make the antimatter than you could gain by using it as fuel to run the accelerator.  There are some high-powered thermodynamic arguments you can use to show this.    It can be summarized as 'There is no such thing as a free lunch' .

 

LeeH


(published on 09/15/2014)

Follow-up on this answer.