Sonata in LHCb: The sound of antimatter (w/ Video)

August 27, 2013 by Cian O'luanaigh

In a recent paper the LHCb collaboration at CERN observed two particles changing from matter into antimatter and back again. Now the collaboration has turned that data into sound, so that you can listen to the music of antimatter.

For every , there is a corresponding antiparticle. Antimatter particles share the same mass as their matter counterparts, but qualities such as electric charge are opposite. Though most particles exist as either matter or antimatter, some particles can switch between the two.

B0 and B0s are such particles. They oscillate between their equivalents up to 3 million million times per second. If that frequency were converted directly into the pitch of a musical note, it would be much too high for the to hear. So the LHCb collaboration has slowed down the frequency millions of times so that we can enjoy the oscillation as detectable sound.

In the video below, a blue box moves from left to right across the screen, depicting the area of the graph you can hear. At first you hear only white noise – random background fluctuations of particles in the LHCb detector. But the two peaks on the graph come from the B0 and B0s particles. First you hear the loud tone of B0 – B0 oscillations, then background noise followed by the tone of the B0s – B0s oscillations. The higher frequency B0s – B0s oscillations are experimentally more difficult to observe, which is why their tone is not as loud.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the music of particles switching to antimatter and back millions of times per second.

Now that's vibrato.

Check out this explanation video of the data from LHCb:

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Explore further: Physicists first to observe rare particles produced at the Large Hadron Collider

More information: Read the technical paper.

Related Stories

CERN's LHCb experiment takes precision physics to a new level

August 29, 2011

( -- Results presented by CERN1's LHCb experiment at the biennial Lepton-Photon conference in Mumbai, India on Saturday 27 August are becoming the most precise yet on particles called B mesons, which provide a ...

LHCb experiment observes new matter-antimatter difference

April 24, 2013

( —The LHCb collaboration at CERN today submitted a paper to Physical Review Letters on the first observation of matter-antimatter asymmetry in the decays of the particle known as the B0s. It is only the fourth ...

Recommended for you

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

'Material universe' yields surprising new particle

November 25, 2015

An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of a new type of particle called the type-II Weyl fermion in metallic materials. When subjected to a magnetic field, the materials containing the particle act ...

Exploring the physics of a chocolate fountain

November 24, 2015

A mathematics student has worked out the secrets of how chocolate behaves in a chocolate fountain, answering the age-old question of why the falling 'curtain' of chocolate surprisingly pulls inwards rather than going straight ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.