Light anti-atomic nuclei consist of anti-protons and anti-neutrons.
There is no natural source of antiatomic nuclei on Earth, but they can be produced elsewhere in the galaxy.
One view proposes that antiatomic nuclei may be the result of the interaction of high-energy cosmic radiation originating outside the solar system with atoms in the interstellar medium (the space between stars in a galaxy).
Another view suggests that antiatomic nuclei are formed by the annihilation of as-yet-undiscovered dark matter particles.
A recent paper published in Nature Physics suggests that light antiatomic nuclei may be able to traverse long distances in the galaxy and have the potential to be used in the search for dark matter.
To explore the interaction of anti-nuclei with matter, the ALICE Collaboration at CERN (European Centre for Nuclear Research) analyzed antiparticles of helium-3 (a stable isotope of helium) nuclei.
The researchers used particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to produce anti-He3 nuclei, and then allowed these anti-nuclei to interact with matter in the ALICE detector to make them disappear.
The authors determined the probability of disappearance of anti-He3 nuclei and the impact of this probability during the passage of these anti-nuclei through the Milky Way.
The results show that anti-He3 nuclei can traverse long distances and are well suited for searching for dark matter annihilation.