It sounds like something out of Star Trek but scientists have been able to trap antimatter for 17 minutes, improving on an experiment last Fall that was able to trap antimatter for merely fractions of seconds.
So just how difficult is it to trap antimatter for study? Just like in Star Trek, the combination of matter and antimatter particles leads to the annihilation of both and the production of a small flash of energy. Thus, to successfully trap antimatter, researchers use magnetic fields to contain antiatoms. When they turn off the field, the resulting annihilation events–recorded by a special detector–clue the scientists into just how many antiatoms are left after a set period of containment time.