Graphic illustrating collision of matter and antimatter
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Antimatter successfully trapped by CERN scientists

6 June 2011 Last updated at 19:19 BST

Scientists at CERN have succeeded in trapping atoms of anti-hydrogen for more than 15 minutes - a breakthrough in the quest to learn about the origins of the universe.

Antimatter is the mirror image of matter - identical in every sense apart from the electric charge carried by the particles - and when the two meet they destroy each other.

Current thinking suggests they should have been created in equal amounts during the Big Bang, but there is decidedly less antimatter in the universe.

Pallab Ghosh reports.