In 1928 Paul Adrian Maurice Dirac published his work, in which he showed that the wave formulas of electron (formulas of the quantum mechanics) had two times more solutions then the knowledge of that time presented. He discovered that those strange solutions describe a particle having identical properties as the electron but carrying a positive charge (e+). The particle he called the positron.In 1928 Paul Adrian Maurice Dirac published his work, in which he showed that the wave formulas of electron (formulas of the quantum mechanics) had two times more solutions then the knowledge of that time presented. He discovered that those strange solutions describe a particle having identical properties as the electron but carrying a positive charge (e+). He called the particle the positron.
For the next several years The positron was only a theoretical particle - nobody has observed it, and even if they observed the phenomenon confirming its subsistence, they couldn't interpret it properly. Just in 1932 Carl Anderson (1905 - 1991) observed positron's paths through the cloud chamber and gave the right interpretation to his observations. In 1932 Carl Anderson and Robert Millikan conducted a series of experiments on cosmic radiation. They placed a fog track chamber (a cloud chamber) in a strong magnetic field. Going through the chamber the particles of cosmic radiation were deflected by the field. This gave the possibility of determining their molecular composition (the mass and charge of a particle determine its trajectory in a magnetic field - protons and electrons have different trajectories). In a magnetic field positive particles are deflected to one side, and negative particles to the opposite side. The scientists made some photographs of the paths of particles. On some of these pictures Anderson found trajectories that surely belonged to the electrons but the paths were deflected in the wrong direction. Those could not be the protons or the alpha particles, because they would have much bigger mass, and they would leave different paths in a cloud chamber. For the same reason they also couldn't be any other known particles. They had to be the positrons. Anderson interpreted this phenomenon exactly in this way. For this discovery in 1936 he was awarded a Nobel Prize.
Soon it turned out that most of the known particles have their "equivalents". For the electron it is the positron, for the proton - the antiproton, for the neutron - the antineutron, for the neutrino - the antineutrino and so on. These equivalents were called the antiparticles, or generally - the antimatter. If a particle meets its equivalent, then the annihilation proceeds. That means - both particles disappear turning into energy (Don't forget about Einstein's equation!). The whole world around you consists mostly of matter. If some antiparticle arises, it is quickly annihilated. Antimatter subsists in cosmic radiation, and can also be achieved by accelerating matter to high speed and colliding it with a special target. Such collision causes the huge emission of energy that can change into some particles carrying mass (Einstein's equation!). Some of these particles can be antiparticles.
As it has been said before, when a particle of matter meets its antimaterial equivalent, the both particles disappear. They are replaced by originating photons. In this reaction much more energy than in the fission or even fusion reaction is released. Unfortunately modern accelerators can produce only a small number of particles of antimatter, and not enough to make such way of producing energy commercially viable. Actually we would have to learn how to produce millions of times more antimatter than today, to make it a practical source of energy. Well, maybe in the future that will be possible.
Lately physicists have reported the first atom of the antimatter being obtained. This was the antihydrogen atom consisting of one positron and one antiproton.Lately physicists have reported the first atom of the antimatter being obtained. This was the antihydrogen atom consisting of one positron and one antiproton.