I read the other week about attempts to construct exotic matter consisting of e.g. an atom where the electrons are replaced with antiprotons. If we could produce such atoms in bulk, what
kind of interesting/useful properties could we expect to obtain? Could it be possible for such exotic matter to interact with ordinary matter without annihilating?
We'll get to the matter/antimatter collisions in a bit, but let's start by looking at the electron/antiproton replacement. Sure, replacing electrons with antiprotons keeps the same charge, but protons are a lot larger and heavier than electrons. Would they move the same way?
Another thing about electrons is that they're not exactly sticky. As in they don't stay where they are much. Send an electric charge through a string of atoms and electrons will hop from one atom to another. The same in case of ions and a number of other atom-to-atom interactions. How would antiprotons mix with ordinary matter in that case? Maybe we would end up with mostly hybrid atoms which have both electrons and antiprotons.
Now let's play with the whole annihilation thing. Yes, matter and antimatter are mutually exclusive. However we're not talking about anti-atoms colliding with ordinary atoms! In this scenario antiprotons and ordinary protons are enemies that should never meet. One is confined to the nucleus while the other orbits. Assuming that electrons never enter the nucleus the same should apply to antiprotons in orbit. Remember that a full anti-atom interacting with a full atom could result in nuclei attempting to merge, much like ordinary atoms do to form new materials. That's where we get a collision.
In essence, if antiprotons can behave like electrons, I assume that a large bulk production of these sorts of atoms would eventually result in most atoms being hybrids. Assuming it's a perfect equivalence this would not in any way be noticeable to us. I guess that's a sort of boring conclusion, but also exciting. Remember that we would be reshaping the basic building blocks of our universe. Who knows what the end consequences could be.
Maybe we'd all get super powers.
-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal