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Critically, a nuke will only explode if you want it to, whereas antimatter is always trying to explode whether you want it to or not.

A staple of science fiction and superhero stories, anti-matter is matter composed of antiparticles. All fiction seems to know (or care) about antimatter is that (a) it's really rare, and (b) when it comes into contact with "real" matter, it makes a big explosion that might be radioactive and is big enough to maybe blow up a planet or power exotic and valuable technology. That makes it a pretty useful plot device — a highly destructive and scarce form of Applied Phlebotinum that nobody understands but has some basis in Real Life.

And antimatter does exist in real life. However, it can only be formed as a product of radioactive decay or particles colliding at very high speeds, and it lasts only brief moments until it comes into contact with normal matter. Antiparticles have many of the exact same properties as your everyday particles (mass, intrinsic angular momentum, etc.), but some of their properties are inverted: antiprotons have a negative electric charge, antielectrons (also known as positrons) have a positive charge, and antineutrons and anti protons have negative baryon numbers. And in some cases, like photons and neutral pions, the particle is its own antiparticle. When electrons encounter positrons, both particles mutually annihilate and emit gamma radiation (and if they do it at high energy, they can produce other stuff as well). When protons and neutrons encounter antiprotons and antineutrons, they also annihilate, resulting in a star of pions shooting out, which ultimately also decay into high-energy gamma radiation.

All this radiation is many times more powerful, relative to mass, than nuclear fusion, making it the purest example of Albert Einstein's famous equation E = mc2. Based on this, we can calculate how ridiculously powerful it is:

  • Remember that the speed of light (the c in the equation) is 3 × 108 m/s.
  • c2 = 9 × 1016 m2/s2. Converting 1 gram (that is, 10-3 kg) of matter to energy therefore produces 9 × 1013 kg × m2/s2.
  • 9 × 1013 kg × m2/s2 is, more succinctly, 90 terajoules.

"Little Boy", the nuclear weapon dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, was built from 64 kilograms of uranium — 64,000 times more material than we were just looking at — and released only 64 terajoules. Or to put it another way (and as noted on Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better), if you wanted to get the same energy as you would from a reaction between matter and antimatter with something of the same mass as the matter and antimatter combined, you would need to accelerate it to about 87% of the speed of light — about 260,000 km/s.

This, naturally, makes for an attractive sci-fi weapon or power source. Only there are a few problems with it:

  • Writers often forget that air counts as matter. You can't just have an antimatter bomb ready to go on the planet's surface without it activating. Most storage devices are also made of matter and wouldn't be able to contain it. Your best bet might be a powerful electromagnetic trap of some kind, like what they've been working on in the real world.
  • Another issue with storage is that antiprotons have negative charge and hate being close together, so it's difficult to get them into a tight space together. Scientists are working with antihydrogen atoms, which are electrically neutral, but they also don't respond well to the electromagnetic traps they've been working on. The most scientists have been able to pull off is storing 309 antihydrogen atoms together for more than 1000 seconds — short about a billion trillion of what one would need, give or take. To make solid antimatter that could be more easily magnetically stored would require doing nuclear fusion with antihydrogen to make other antielements; which has not so far been done beyond antihelium.
  • As a power source, it's just not practical because antimatter does not exist naturally in useful quantities. You'd need a massive particle accelerator to make enough antimatter for your Faster-Than-Light Travel or Matter Replicator to work, which will require its own power source — solar, nuclear, or perhaps an entire Dyson Sphere.
  • Someone has to pay for all of that. Antimatter is currently the most expensive stuff on Earth, worth about $62.5 trillion per gram — just short of the annual economic output of the entire world. Not that a gram of antimatter has ever been produced. Even if you use one of those electromagnetic traps, we haven't yet been able to build one that can hold more than a billion antiprotons or so — about a millionth of a billionth of a gram.

Antimatter is often used in fiction similarly to nuclear weapons. But there are several key differences which make them useful to sci-fi writers: first, they're far more powerful; second, they're remarkably fragile, meaning The End of the World as We Know It can happen from a single "oops"; and third, they don't always make radioactive fallout (it depends on the work), making for a somewhat more palatable After the End scenario.

Science Marches On with antimatter as it does with pretty much everything, so you might see some outdated "science" in your stories. For instance, it was once theorised that antimatter did exist in large quantities somewhere out in the far reaches of space — it was just undetectable. Modern science considers this unlikely, because it would be difficult for that much antimatter to exist in the universe without coming into contact with matter and violently proving its existence. For much of the 20th century; scientists were befuddled as to why there's so much matter in the universe compared to antimatter when all known processes for creating both created them in equal amounts. Starting in the 1950s; careful measurements showed that some nuclear reactions break the symmetry and slightly favor matter over antimatter, but many details of what happened in the early universe to give so much pure matter remain unknown. This gives writers a lot of room to work with, and frustrates creators working on the harder sci-fis.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Animal Land: When Juu returns for his revenge against Giller, you might wonder how someone using swastika-shaped bone spears could compete with Giller's newest Chimera who can spit a nuclear blast, regenerate from said blast, can detect even bacteria and has the lifespan of a star to boot. The answer is: by giving him an antimatter weapon, of course! When Giller asks how he found that much antimatter, Juu replies that human technology developed exponentially during wartime, making it possible to gather such stellar amounts of antimatter.
    Giller: What is that?
    Juu: Antimatter. 3 kg of them.
  • The plot of Assassination Classroom all traces back to the Big Bad Shiro trying to utilize antimatter as a new form of energy by producing it from living humans. Koro-sensei is the result of a captured master assassin who was unwillingly forced into the experiments, with his body converted into gelatinous tentacles to contain the antimatter. Ultimately, the issue arose that the antimatter would continue past the subject's cell division to catastrophic levels, as a mouse that underwent the same procedure blew up the moon where it had been secluded in fear of such an event.
  • The title Humongous Mecha of Cannon God Exaxxion is powered by an antimatter reactor. According to the Backstory, the aliens who created it were said to have found an asteroid made of the stuff, which they harvested for fuel until its orbit decayed and it crashed into the nearest planet and practically wiped out their civilization.
  • Imperialdramon of Digimon Adventure 02 has an attack called "Positron Laser". Like in Evangelion, it's not explained how the beam doesn't blow up as soon as it leaves the cannon. Although in this case, it's more likely to be just a cool-sounding name and the beam has about as much to do with positrons as it does with lasers.
  • Antimatter warheads are one of the proposed explanations of the "reaction weaponry" in Macross. Authors stated that they initially wanted to use straight-up nukes, but due to the cultural conventions couldn't show the good guys nuking 'em right and left, so they thought up a fancy new name, and later proposed AM as an explanation (which is really the same, as antimatter annihilation is also a nuclear reaction, just other type than most well-known fusion and fission).
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED:
    • The tendency of antimatter to annihilate air molecules it comes in contact with is actually used, where the Cool Ship fires its positron cannons ahead of it when heading back into space to clear out air resistance. Called, "Positronic Interference." This allows the ship do reach orbit under its own power rather than needing a mass driver to launch it.
    • Then we have the moment when Mu La Flaga completely blocks an antimatter cannon with his Gundam's shield, protecting the Archangel. When asked, the director first said the shield's anti-beam coating stopped it; when it was pointed out that the weapon was antimatter, he admitted that he forgot that part.
      "He's the man who makes the impossible possible."
  • In Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, the engine powering the Nautilus runs on antimatter, in the show described as "particle annihilation". There is a dedication plaque in Atlantian language declaring the Nautilus is actually the starship Eritrium, recycled as a submarine.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Unit 01 shoots down the Angel Ramiel with a giant positronic sniper rifle. The fact the beam should explode as soon as it hits the air is glossed over in the show, but supplementary materials suggest the positrons are "jacketed" with a neutrino field. This makes no sense at all, but let's all just go with it.
  • Xyz monsters of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL and the card game are made of antimatter, which is a possible reason Dr. Faker believes that the Numbers cards would destroy the universe.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • The Justice League of America's Evil Counterpart, the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, comes from an antimatter Mirror Universe. To travel into a positive universe and back, they must switch the polarities of their particles mid-course.
    • Pre-Crisis, the antimatter universe Earth was rather the planet Qward, as the Crime Syndicate lived in one of the matter universes. Post-Crisis, both the Crime Syndicate Earth and Qward are worlds in the same antimatter universe.
    • In the 1986 Crisis Crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths, an antimatter wave erased several universes from existence — without exploding or disintegrating itself in the process. It was brought about by another antimatter Evil Counterpart, too.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel: The titular Blue Marvel is a '50s era "living antimatter generator", which basically makes him a Superman Substitute with the ability to manipulate most forms of energy. He got his powers from a Freak Lab Accident when studying Another Dimension where positive and negative matter can coexist without destroying each other, which he dubbed the "Neutral Zone".
    • Fantastic Four has the "Negative Zone" dimension, which is made of antimatter (though there seems to be some positive matter in it as well). It's vaguely mentioned that portals to it have to be designed to convert particles to their opposite counterparts, for the obvious reasons, but it's rarely a plot point. Notably, in the Ultimate Marvel continuity, space has an atmosphere, but it's acidic.
    • X-Men: The Angel's Evil Uncle, Burtram Worthington a.k.a. the Dazzler, is a Gadgeteer Genius who marks his mooks with special particles that he can track. He's also capable of remotely transmuting those particles into antimatter to vaporize anyone that betrays him. Besides the fact that enough antimatter to obliterate the mass of person would also obliterate everything around them for miles if not the whole planet, it's safe to say if he wasn't so into the villainy, he could easily turn a profit from remotely generating antimatter.
  • In Yoko Tsuno, antimatter plays a big part in The Time Spiral. During the 3rd millennium, antimatter was used in warfare and Earth's continents were destroyed, leaving nothing but a ball of magma filled with toxic gas. The last living human on Earth tries to undo this by travelling to the 20th century and stop a man from discovering antimatter in the first place.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In A Champion in Earth-Bet, the Simurgh uses a tinkertech antimatter weapon during her fight with the Avatar. Because of said weapon, their battle begins with an explosion that causes the (parallel, uninhabited) Earth below them to lose its spherical shape, unleashing a firestorm that advances across its entire surface, and ends with an explosion that vaporizes the planet, and melts the side of the Moon facing it from hundreds of thousands of miles away.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, antimatter is such a dangerous substance that not even invulnerable Kryptonians can survive exposure. Aware of it, Supergirl dunks her virtually indestructible evil duplicate into an antimatter star in order to destroy her.
  • In Midnight Renegade, Arceus creates Giratina in order to manage antimatter.
  • In Rocketship Voyager, the eponymous rocketship is a contraterrene-powered torchship. As in the Seetee stories by Jack Williamson, CT is mined in the Asteroid Belt and Voyager happens to be carrying a large supply back to Earth confined in an electromagnetic field-trap. This serves as a Chekhov's Gun when the crew need a Weapon of Mass Destruction to escape the Psiborg Collective. In one scene the Chief Engineer has his hand on a red lever which will eject the entire Cochrane Drive if needed, but knows that if the electromagnetic fields falter for so much as a microsecond, they'd all be obliterated before he could even think of pulling it.
  • In The Seven Hunters, the Rainbowfaces' Repressor is mentioned to be powered by a milligram of antimatter.
  • Taylor from Transposition, or: Ship Happens uses Squealer's power source to jumpstart her antimatter production, giving her a power source for her creations and her upgraded body. She's smart enough to use a dimensional fold to make sure that the containment unit won't blow up the city if damaged, of course.
  • The Vampire of Steel has Supergirl take an Eldritch Abomination to an antimatter universe and hurl it into the nearest planet. Upon being touched by antimatter atoms, M'Nagaleh's body literally implodes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A blatant misuse of the term appears in Batman: The Movie. The villains de-hydrate some of their mooks and smuggle them into the Batcave, where they are re-hydrated. A single punch from Batman or Robin makes them instantly disappear because of flaws in the re-hydration process (they had accidentally used heavy water from the atomic pile). Batman's scientific opinion? They were reduced to "anti-matter".
  • The Giant Claw has an antimatter shield that destroys anything the military fires at it. Why it doesn't explode the air is never addressed.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: "Yes, Dr. Scott. A laser capable of emitting a beam of pure anti-matter." The traditional response is "Then it's not a laser." or "Then it doesn't matter!" In a bizarre case of life imitating art, this article describes a recently discovered process by which a laser can be used to produce a surprisingly large amount of antimatter.
  • The plot of Solar Crisis concerns the flinging of an anti-matter bomb to cause a pre-emptive solar flare.

  • One Choose Your Own Adventure book involves the Player Character meeting an "antimatter" version of themselves, created as a side effect of the Big Bad's actions. Most of the endings involve the PC and their anti-self touching each other and ending all existence through the violent release of energy.
  • In the Star Challenge books, negatronnote  torpedoes and missiles are used as weapon by spacecrafts. There's also a mention of anti-matter charges, which are used like the former to cause a star to flare and suddenly implode into a black hole.

  • The primary MacGuffin in Angels & Demons is an antimatter bomb. CERN's commentary on the book is quite enlightening.
  • Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice goes into a rather amusing digression over Alice's concerns about whether or not milk from the Looking Glass world is safe to drink. While much of it is devoted to the concept of Mirror Chemistry (and is indeed one of, if not the most familiar examples of the topic in the popular consciousness), Gardner also speculates that Looking Glass milk could be made of antimatter. Either way, Alice's worries are pretty well justified.
  • Arrivals from the Dark:
    • Several advanced races use antimatter as their primary (in some cases, only) ship-to-ship weapon. The first novel, Invasion, shows just how superior antimatter is to weapons used up until then by humans: missiles (both conventional and nuclear), plasma cannons, and swarms (like mass drivers but shoot a spread of icicles at high velocity). This forces humans to use this Imported Alien Phlebotinum in later books, although the fourth book, Dark Skies, shows that even plasma can be effective if used in sufficient quantity (i.e., a fleet of plasma-armed ships obliterates a relatively small human battle-group armed with antimatter weapons).
    • The books also make it a point that antimatter is never used on a planet, as it would more likely kill you and everyone around you than the enemy.
    • The last novel of the series has humans bombarding planets from orbit using antimatter weapons. It takes an hour for a cruiser armed with two turret-mounted annihilators to turn an Earth-like world into a charred rock. The book specifically mentions that this is almost never done, though, as Earth-like worlds are rare, and nobody likes wasting them. The only reason this is done is in an attempt to stop a war with a race of Reptilians by destroying their leaders (they are hardwired from birth to obey a strict hierarchy).
    • Interestingly, the novels fail to explain how antimatter weapons can damage Deflector Shields. After all, they're not made of matter and, as such, would not interact in an explosive fashion with antimatter. Antimatter should be as harmless as space dust to shields. So much for an author with a physics background.
  • The novelization of The Black Hole describes the "USS Cygnus" as being powered by matter-antimatter annihilation, four of her engines being described by Reinhardt as able to give as much energy as the one used in Earth in a year. Increased damage to them caused by the destruction of the "USS Palomino" is what ultimately dooms it, as the working ones cannot produce enough energy for the field protecting the ship of the black hole's tidal forces despite Reinhardt ordering increases of their power output.
  • Starships in Crest of the Stars use antimatter as fuel, much as in Star Trek. Warships can also be equipped with anti-proton beams as defensive weaponry. The reason they're classified as defensive weapons is that, antimatter or not, they're very weak compared to the explosive, self-propelled mines or giant railguns that see more use, and thus are mostly used for shooting down incoming mines.
  • The Culture:
    • The Culture uses CAM — collapsed anti-matter, a.k.a. anti-neutronium — in their planet-smashing grade weaponry, and as a sort of minefield. It isn't nearly as powerful as their more serious warship-grade weapons such as Gridfire, and does not get used or mentioned after Consider Phlebas, as the later books are set several hundred years later, and technology has marched on.
    • Normal antimatter is in common use in smaller weapons; nanomissiles with antimatter warheads are a common drone armament and considered quite distinctive as a Culture device. It is generally only used when combat has already escalated to serious levels... they tend to generate too much collateral damage to be used where there is a risk of civilian casualties.
    • The Iln war machines in Matter have systems to generate large enough quantities of antimatter to shatter a shellworld, given enough time.
  • In Dragonriders of Pern, the ships that brought the original colonists to Pern had antimatter-fueled drives, and remained in orbit after being stripped of anything useful. This comes into play in All the Weyrs of Pern when those same two-thousand-year-old engines are deliberately detonated in an attempt to alter the Red Star's orbit.
  • Dread Empire's Fall has this as both fuel and warhead. In fact, missiles burn fuel until they reach their target, and whatever's left goes into exploding. It's one of the few justified cases of Arbitrary Weapon Range. It also one of the factors that contributes to the missiles having a very short tactically viable range, in conjunction with point defense.
  • The Empire from the Ashes trilogy features these starting with the second book. They are treated as serious weapons along with gravitonic warheads.
  • In Ex-Superheroes, a Japanese supervillain has the ability to generate antimatter near his body and manipulate it. He has learned to use it to throw deadly projectiles as well as to fly (by generating it under his feet and using it as rocket boots). He is immune to his own antimatter. He can also keep it isolated from normal matter in order to avoid it detonating prematurely. He calls himself Antimatter or Tanmonoshitsu ("antimatter" in Japanese).
  • The Flight Engineer uses antihydrogen as the MacGuffin in a No Blood for Phlebotinum scenario. A religious extremist faction that by virtue of location has a monopoly on a naturally occurring A-H field cuts off all exports to the Commonwealthnote  to try and cause Galactic/Societal Collapse. The A-H is so valuable because interstellar travel depends on its use as a fuel in matter/antimatter reactors, and creating the stuff in particle accelerators is prohibitively expensive on the scales required in the series.
  • Flood: The title Colony Ship of Ark relies on antimatter to fire its Alcubierre Drive. A deadly containment breach proves manufacturing a usable supply on Earth impractical, but the crew finds all the necessary fuel in Jupiter's magnetosphere.
  • The Forge of God by Greg Bear has the Earth destroyed by two masses, one of neutronium and the other of anti-neutronium. These orbit the earth, inside it, until they meet. The anti-neutronium one does cause some problems from the energy released as it plows through the inside of the Earth, but once the two masses collide, the energy released is greater than Earth's gravitation binding energy. In its sequel Anvil of Stars, some fighter ships (and pilots) are turned to anti-matter by the baddies. They figure it out when one tries to dock with the main ship. The others slowly die because anti-matter isn't suited for living things, but they hang around long enough for the protagonist's love interest to say good-bye.
  • In the Galactic Marines novel Luna Marine, the discoveries of Ancient Astronaut ruins on Mars and the Moon kick off an Archaeological Arms Race between the US and the UN. Both sides are working on antimatter-powered ships (tiny amounts of antimatter are dropped into tanks full of water; the resulting matter/antimatter reaction turns the water into plasma that is then expelled through the engines, allowing the ship to accelerate at 6 gravities). While the US has been manufacturing its antimatter stores the old-fashioned way (i.e., particle accelerators), UN scientists have managed to locate and reactivate an Ahn device that produces a steady stream of antiprotons. They first adapt it for use as a particle beam weapon, which only really works because they're on the Moon (i.e., no air particles to react to antiprotons). UN scientists are still struggling to make the antimatter engine work. If the UN ship is launched ahead of its US counterpart, the war will be over, as the ship's speed and firepower will be unrivaled in the system, and the antimatter cannon will be able to rain destruction on American cities.
  • Antimatter rockets and spiked antimatter/fusion rockets are a popular propulsion method in Great Ship. Since it's so effective at pushing the ships, the ships need only a relatively tiny amount of it for interstellar voyages.
  • The History of the Galaxy:
    • Antimatter is an extremely dangerous weapon. It is a WMD, as it can annihilate armadas, as well as small moons. Apparently, in the 1000 years of using the weapon (extremely sparingly), scientists have not figured out how to control the yield.
    • One of the novels, The Backup Spaceport, features new Stiletto-class Space Fighters powered by an antimatter reactor (all reactors before were fusion-based). The difference is that it does not use regular antimatter but the so-called "Vetletsky antiparticles", which only react with tritium. This ensures that, even if antimatter containment is lost during battle, the ship is not destroyed by matter/antimatter reaction.
  • In the Humanx Commonwealth novel The End of the Matter, a Lost Superweapon is used to eliminate the threat of a rogue black hole by summoning a "white hole" composed of antimatter from Another Dimension; the two then begin a process of mutual annihilation over hundreds of thousands of years. It is noted by one of the awed protagonists that it was a good thing they didn't try to set off the device inside the black hole, or the entire process would have occurred at once.
    Bran Tse-Mallory: I've always wanted to see a quasar, but not from up close!Science Marches On
  • In the Incarnations of Immortality book Bearing an Hourglass, Satan sends Chronos on a fantastic journey. Since Chronos lives backwards, Satan claims he has sent Chronos to a Contra-Terrene (i.e., antimatter) galaxy where, Satan claims, time runs backwards so Chronos can interact normally. Chronos himself is protected by his time cloak. It turns out that Satan's lying, big time. Chronos was really sent to a movie studio Satan owns and interacted with scripted, magical movie sets.
  • Antimatter is used as a power source in Infinity Beach, but it is carefully regulated. The novel begins with a massive explosion apparently caused by antimatter of unknown origin.
  • In The Jenkinsverse, antimatter weapons are not frequently used, but do exist and are as devastating as one might expect. Notably, one of the agents of the Big Bad uses an antimatter bomb to cover his tracks when he's been cornered by the authorities, teleporting away and unleashing an explosion that wipes the city of San Diego and most of the surrounding county, along with parts of Mexico off the face of the Earth in spectacular fashion. This of course kicks off a galactic war as humanity goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • In The Killing Star, incoming alien spaceships are detected by looking for the presence of 0.5 MeV gamma ray photons — photons emitted when positrons and electrons annihilate each other in an antimatter rocket engine.
  • Known Space:
    • "Flatlander" (the short story, not the novel) concerns a visit to a planet that — unknown to the explorers — is made of antimatter.
    • In a later book, it is discussed that the crew of a ship armed with antimatter weapons will expend their ammo at the first possible justified opportunity, for their own safety's sake.
    • One weapon in the setting, "Silver bullets", use antihydrogen warheads that not only create an explosion, but also flood the ship with neutrons from the destroyed atoms. One kzin who hears about it considers it an idiotic concept, as a ship hit with one would be rendered worthless as a prize.
  • Laszlo Hadron and the Wargod's Tomb: The starships in the novel are powered by antiproton reactors, and the Wargod is crippled using a bomb containing "antithorium".
  • Lensman has a rather early (late 1930s) example of antimatter bombs, but they work a little differently than we'd expect. "Negative Matter" is said to consist of Dirac positrons, has negative mass, and some other properties that perhaps hint at negative energy. Later research has treated antimatter quite differently. It does still cause mutual annihilation with matter roughly as modern science would expect, however, producing copious amounts of hard radiation in the process. E. E. "Doc" Smith didn't think the implications through, though — the gamma rays are treated as a nuisance side effect, not a far-more-deadly weapon in their own right.
  • In the A Lord from Planet Earth trilogy, anti-sodium and anti-helium are used by the protagonist in the second book during a space battle. The enemy ship, however, figures out how to defend against each attack.
  • The Night's Dawn Trilogy features antimatter as a crucial plot point. In the setting of the series, antimatter exists in a practical form, usable as an exceptionally high-yield fuel for propulsion, generating energy or blowing things up. Antimatter is so effective, however, that is has been outlawed and carrying, using or manufacturing antimatter is investigated and punished by the Confederation. The ban was put in place when antimatter bombs were demonstrated to be especially effective at destroying planets. Still, black market manufacturing stations produce and distribute antimatter.
  • The Orthogonal trilogy plays it surprisingly straight with "orthogonal matter", considering that the trilogy's physics are very different from our own. In this setting, the antimatter-like properties are caused by matter coming in contact with other matter that is traveling along a different trajectory through "time". The effects are pretty much the same.
  • Aside from occasional use in weapons and as a power source, Perry Rhodan once features aliens from an antimatter universe as peaceful but explosive visitors. (The science is a bit dodgy, with any given chemical element supposedly only reacting with its corresponding anti-element... but the destructive potential of unprotected contact is played to the hilt.) Positronic computers also see widespread use as a clear homage to the works of Isaac Asimov.
  • In the RCN universe, the High Drive that provides deep space propulsion for both ships and their missiles uses matter-antimatter annihilation to produce thrust. The reaction isn't complete, though, so it's only used in vacuum, as antimatter that hadn't reacted in the thrust could interact with atmospheric molecules, damaging or even destroying the engines. Due to this, lower-powered plasma thrusters are used for atmospheric maneuvering.
  • In the Revelation Space Series, antimatter weapons are small, hard to get, and extremely destructive; one character has one bomb implanted in his eyes (the eyes are artificial) and can destroy a kilometre-long spacecraft with a thought. Small projectile weapons firing shielded antimatter fragments are also knownnote  but seldom used outside of serious conflicts between very well-equipped parties.
  • Robot Series: Robots have "positronic" brains, something which Isaac Asimov himself would later admit was both ridiculous and impossible once positrons in particular and robotics in general began to become understood. His stories continued to use positronic-robots for years after his admissions, but solely because they were within the already-existing universe.
    • Given some of Asimov's descriptions of how positronic brains worked, it would have been entirely reasonable to retcon these positrons as merely holes (in the semiconductor sense) — especially considering that Dirac's view of positrons as "holes in the sea of negative-energy electrons" was still pretty kosher when Asimov started writing his robot stories.
    • The initial point of "positronic" brains was that the matter-antimatter interactions would be so quick that they could mimic the speed and complexity of human brains. It's doesn't make sense these days, but it was passable at the time.
    • The problems of a real positronic brain were briefly discussed in fact in one of his essays, and dismissed because Asimov wanted to write stories about robots not about robotic engineering.
  • Jack Williamson's Seetee stories are written around antimatter — called "Contra-Terrene" (C.T.) in the stories. In Seetee Shock, it is used to fuel a power station broadcasting free energy to the entire Solar System, breaking the back of the corrupt mega-corporation Interplanet. In Seetee Ship, concentrations of antimatter (such as the titular spaceship, built by antimatter aliens) are found to have an unusual property; they move backwards through time!note  The main problem in the Seetee novels (contra-terrene=C.T.=seetee) is building a "bedplate" device that allows matter and antimatter to play nice together through paragravity effects, so they can build a refinery for antimatter ores, antimatter pickaxes with regular handles, etc. (antimatter acts just like regular matter, forming planets, asteroids, and suchlike). While a "permanent paragravity magnet" is theoretically possible, nobody can figure out what metal will hold the charge forever. At least until the protagonist finds a Flying Saucer that's 50% terrene and contraterrene, that is...
  • Some stories from the Star Wars Legends feature positronic processors (likely an Isaac Asimov Shout-Out).
  • The Sten series has Anti-Matter Two, which is technically not antimatter as we know it but an alternate-universe equivalent with similar properties. It is used to power starship engines and as ammunition in weapons (ranging from the tiny amount in Willygun bullets to the large amount in planetbuster missiles).
  • The ships in Tour of the Merrimack use antimatter reactors. This poses some tactical problems; you can't shoot down a ship in atmosphere without the risk of causing a massive antimatter explosion.
  • Kraken in Unlimited Fafnir has the ability to shoot antimatter projectiles. These clearly don't act like normal antimatter, as they liberate much less energy upon hitting their target than would be expected from their size. In-universe, the reason why they're dangerous is that they annihilate any matter on contact, even the super-tough alloy mithril. Mitsuki gains a weaker version of this power after killing Kraken.
  • The Uplift series features antimatter beams as merely one of a truly staggering variety of weapons employed by Galactic races. When you have weapons that alter probability or shunt you into another universe, mere antimatter seems tame by comparison.
  • The World at the End of Time: Human interstellar ships use matter-antimatter annihilation as power source, and together with Solar Sails as propulsion. Hundreds of years later in the colony's timeframe one of those ships, the "Ark", blows up due to precisely matter-antimatter annihilation causing things to go really pear-shaped for the main protagonist.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, a character is badly injured from contact with a single particle of antimatter.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Mutants", the Doctor claims that an antimatter explosion will turn everyone into "un-people un-doing un-things un-together", which is an awfully convoluted way of saying "dead".
    • In "The Three Doctors", Omega is trapped in an antimatter universe on the other side of a black hole. Handwaved in that the Doctor and friends are "processed" in some way when they go through the black hole — Dr. Tyler, the physicist, explains that they shouldn't even be there at all!
    • "Planet of Evil" also features antimatter treated more as a radioactive substance than an explosive one.
  • In an episode of Eureka, a device is activated by the mere presence of contained antimatter nearby, when both are stored in a bank vault. Apparently a town full of geniuses can't figure out that antimatter by itself is not an energy source nor is it radioactive. It appears to be a greenish liquid stored in a test tube. Unless you want it to blow up, it should be stored in a vacuum environment kept away from the container walls by a magnetic field.
  • An episode of Lost in Space has an evil counterpart of John Robinson (played by the same actor) from an antimatter universe, but no explosions.
  • Antimatter is a common source of energy in Star Trek. In a Post-Scarcity Economy civilization where matter can be formed out of energy by machines, antimatter retains value due to the fact that generating it is dangerous.
    • Typically, it is used as a fuel to power warp drives and other energy-intensive hardware aboard a starship (such as Energy Weapons, shields, matter replicators, and base power load for the whole ship). According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, the warp drive is powered by colliding beams of deuteriumnote  and anti-deuterium, regulated by a shaped dilithium crystal under extreme heat and pressure into an energy form that can be harnessed. The "Warp Core" is the powerplant apparatus that manages this.
    • On occasion, it's used as explosive energy: 'photon' torpedoes are per canon loaded with this stuff and normal matter, sent over to another ship, and BOOM. Well, they're supposed to, anyway.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • In "The Alternative Factor", there are two versions of Lazarus, one made of matter from our universe and one made of antimatter from a parallel universe. If they ever get together in either universe, both universes will be destroyed. This would not happen in real life, although you'd get a sizable explosion. They also have no problem interacting with other objects and people from the opposite universes, even though that should have the same exact effect.
      • In "The Doomsday Machine", the titular planet-eating menace fires a beam that Decker described as "Pure antiproton, absolutely pure!" This should not damage a starship with working Deflector Shields. Antiprotons would have no reason to interact explosively with an EM field (or a graviton field, depending on which fluff explanation you prefer), although they would certainly wreak havoc if they touched the hull underneath (which, indeed, it very much did to the starship Constellation). The machine is also said to have negated the stored antimatter aboard the Constellation in some unexplained way. This might explain why neither Enterprise nor Constellation are seen attacking the machine with photon torpedoes.
      • In "Obsession", antimatter is used for a demolition charge. One ounce of antimatter reacting with matter supposedly produces an explosion that blows half the atmosphere off an Earth-like planet. While the basic idea of an antimatter bomb isn't too far off, the numbers certainly are; in reality, an ounce of antimatter annihilating an ounce of normal matter would, as a bomb, have a yield of only a couple of megatons. You'd need at least some millions of tonnes of antimatter to get the kind of effect they describe. (Kirk mentions to Spock in this episode that he would hope weapons would not get more advanced than this.)
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • The android Data has a "positronic brain" in a deliberate homage to Isaac Asimov. Having Star Trek levels of technology still makes the concept no more plausible, though.
      • In "The Best of Both Worlds", Riker's plan to kidnap/rescue Locutus/Picard from the Borg ship involves lighting off an antimatter spread, which is essentially a giant fireworks display to dazzle the Borg cube's sensors and give cover to the infiltration shuttle carrying Worf and Data.
    • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Dreadnought" they encountered a Cardassian self-guided missile carrying 1000 kilograms of matter and another 1000 of antimatter, said on the show to be able to destroy a small moon.
  • The Ultraman Gaia episode "Challenge from Anti-Space" has a Monster of the Week named, well, Antimatter. It's a starfish-like Eldritch Abomination made out of antimatter and able to generate a field that converts all matter within into antimatter, which means that XIG and Gaia have to be extra careful to make sure that the monster and its field remain stable, lest the entire Earth be destroyed by the violent meeting between matter and antimatter.
  • An episode of The Visitor (1997) has a farmer and a group of scientists working on a secret experiment for generating sizable quantities of antimatter. Their main problem appears to be maintaining a perfect vacuum in the containment vessel. In the end, Adam explains that there are other applications of their research that can be used to quickly grow large quantities of food. Basically, they can solve world hunger.
  • In the season 2 premiere of Warehouse 13, antimatter is stolen from CERN to power one of the villain's inventions.

  • In Brave Saint Saturn's Anti-Meridian (the third part of a sci-fi Rock Opera trilogy), the crew of the USS Gloria serendipitously discovers a relatively cheap means of producing antimatter. By the album's end, this discovery has solved Earth's energy woes and revolutionized space travel.
  • The song Antimatter by Dragonland. It can be found in the album Astronomy


    Tabletop Games 
  • A CthulhuTech supplement has a weapon that fires antimatter at relativistic speeds after burning a vacuum in the air with a laser.
  • In Eclipse Phase, antimatter is manufactured on Mercury, and used in strategic weapons and as a power source for the emergency farcaster implant, which makes your head explode when you use it.
  • GURPS Ultra-Tech briefly discusses antimatter. One microgram is enough to vaporize a normal human and incredibly expensive. There are also stats for antimatter bullets.
  • Mutants & Masterminds has Negator, a villain who first emerged when his Earth-Prime counterpart got forcibly merged with his counterpart from an antimatter universe (similar to the Crime Syndicate example above). Some scientific credence is given to the concept, noting that if the thin yet resilient force field that keeps the two halves separate yet functioning is ever nullified, bad things happen.
  • In one Paranoia mission, the PCs discover a long-forgotten antimatter bomb capable of destroying the entire Complex, and have to keep it away from fanatics who would actually detonate it.
  • Rifts:
    • One of the most powerful offensive spells creates a small magic sphere full of antimatter and hurls it at the target. It is quite fittingly called "Annihilate", as only the most powerful tanks or Humongous Mecha are likely to survive getting hit by it.
    • On the tech side, Antimatter cruise missiles are among the more powerful missile weapons in the Three Galaxies setting.
  • In Starfire, starship missiles can be fitted with ordinary nuclear warheads, or with antimatter warheads. Antimatter warheads are more powerful, but are also much more dangerous to the ship carrying them. If an enemy destroys a ship's missile hold, the unfired nuclear missiles stored in it will simply be destroyed and become useless, but the unfired antimatter missiles in it will detonate.
  • In Transhuman Space, antimatter is also manufactured on Mercury, using solar energy to drive the particle accelerators, and used among other things to catalyze the most advanced fusion drives.

    Video Games 
  • Antimatter Dimensions revolves around you collecting antimatter by dimensions which produce antimatter or lower dimensions. The news feed mentions lots of things made of antimatter. In reality, those things will annihilate with the air or the ground.
  • As of version 1.036, the final building in Cookie Clicker is the Antimatter Condenser, which condenses the antimatter of the universe into cookies, according to the description.
  • In the Polaris questline in Escape Velocity Nova, you can equip your ship with a matter/antimatter reactor. The Polaris are several centuries ahead of the rest of humanity technologically; everyone else uses fission (either traditional or liquid-thorium-fueled).
  • In EVE Online, hybrid weaponry such as blasters and railguns can be loaded with anti-matter charges, there are readily available anti-matter warheads for everything from dumbfire rockets to super-capital torpedos, and Gallentean spaceship technology uses anti-matter as a fuel source.
  • FreeSpace has two missiles that use Antimatter warheads in the first and second games, called the Tsunami Bomb and Helios Torpedo, respectively. They're the weapon of choice for bombers attempting to take out capital ships. That "carpet-bombing with antimatter" is the standard course of killing a starship in this game should tell you something about their armor.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Military starships are propelled by matter-antimatter reactions created by combining antiprotons with hydrogen atoms. The stations that produce them are massive facilities often located around high-energy stars for solar power and are high-value targets in wartime, as are the refineries. Antimatter is also used as a weapon similar to nukes, but are much rarer in comparison and strictly regulated. Still, it's common enough that a single mid-sized private company can get their hands on at least several warheads loaded with the stuff, if Parasini's description of the Noveria Development Corporation's "sterilization" procedures are any indication. The worst case scenario involves vaporizing the affected compound with antimatter warheads from orbital battle stations.
    • The large bomb that the turians plant on Tuchanka seems to utilize antimatter, as its yield to weight ratio is outright impossible for a regular fusion weapon (which caps out around 84 kilotons per kilogram for deuterium and helium-3; or more like 6-16-kilotons for modern fission-fusion weapons). To wit, it kills every living thing in a 500 kilometer radius if it goes off. To get a near-100% death rate against regular humans at that distance (much less the residents of Tuchanka) would require about 7.2 teratons of TNT equivalent, or five hundred million times the yield of the Hiroshima bomb. You can see why the stuff is so highly regulated.
    • Cut content from Mass Effect 2 has a groundskeeper saying admiring things about a potent quarian drink called "thruster fuel", which obviously can't be made out of what he speculates.
      "Must be ninety-nine percent alcohol! I think they distill it from raw antimatter. Antimatter alcohol..."
  • In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, the Annihilator Beam, appropriately enough, is stated to fire an annihilation reaction of matter and antimatter.
  • An antimatter bomb is the Lost Superweapon MacGuffin of Mission Thunderbolt.
  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Word of God states that the Legendary Pokémon Giratina is supposed to be the living personification of antimatter, and that it and its world are constructed of antimatter. Functionally, Giratina switches forms when in your world — Earth (or Poke-Earth, whatever) — and its original state only occurs in its own world, unless you go back into its world and bring back the Griseous Orb, which lets it retain its natural form.
  • A sign on the wall in Portal 2 advises you to:
    Know your allergens. Pollen. Animal Dander. Plastics. Antimatter.
  • Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse has Sam and Max destroy the entire Penal Zone with an "antimatter bomb".
  • The ultimate weapon to be used against the Alien Invasion in Shadowgrounds is an antimatter bomb. It turns out that the bomb was made using technology given to humans (and numerous other alien species) by the invading aliens, who realized after their planet was destroyed in an antimatter explosion just how bad an idea this was and set out to reclaim the antimatter technology they gave out, by force if necessary.
  • In Shadow the Hedgehog, the "Diablo" mech has an attack called "antimatter cannon" which looks more like an expanding energy field.
  • In Sins of a Solar Empire, ships that have special abilities use Antimatter as Mana.
  • Antimatter is the fuel of choice for starships in Star Control and mentioned by Commander Hayes to be expensive to make, especially in the large quantities required for your flagship (however, the Melnorme sells it quite cheaply). It serves also as weapon in the Umgah ships, said to use antimatter cones, and especially the Utwig bomb that you must use to destroy the Sa-Matra, and oddly enough can be found as an exotic ore on certain planets.
  • Protoss Scouts in StarCraft are armed with antimatter missiles for air-to-air combat.
  • In Star Ocean: The Last Hope, an alternate Earth is destroyed by an unstable antimatter engine.
  • The Galactic Armory mod for Star Ruler adds antimatter generators, thrusters, and weapons. Antimatter has the advantage of needing tiny amounts of fuel storage, it has the most efficient and nearly most powerful thrusters, and the antimatter weapons are devastatingly powerful. However, the generators are extremely expensive, and very, very fragile. Ships carrying antimatter tend to explode violently when their armor is breached.
  • Star Trek Online has the standard photon torpedoes of Trek-lore and adds Antiproton beams to the mix that offer an extra 20% critical severity compared to other beams. Typically used by the Fek'lhri horde, the Borg, the Undine and the Iconians.
  • Star Trek Text Game has a M-AM (matter-antimatter) converter as one of the systems that can be damaged on the USS Enterprise.
  • Stellaris:
    • There are five tiers of basic missile weapons. Antimatter missiles make up the middle one, more powerful than nuclear and fusion missiles but weaker than the Quantum and Marauder models.
    • Similarly, there are normally 6 tiers of starship reactors. Antimatter is the 4th best, better than Fission, Fusion, Cold Fusion, but worse than Zero-Point and Dark Matter energy.
  • Super Robot Wars W: The Earth Federation never gets the N-Jammer Canceler technology, which played an important role in the plot of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED by allowing the Federation to use nuclear weapons. In the game, antimatter warheads are substituted for the nukes as needed.
  • In Sword of the Stars, Antimatter is the final level of reactor technology development. Strangely, however, M/AM ships have very small explosions compared to normal ones, even though Antimatter is far more destructive when uncontained. There are also antimatter weapons. Developers have stated that they will not be inventing any new power source beyond Antimatter for the sequel, but instead have techs that optimize its use.
  • The aliens in UFO: Alien Invasion use spacecraft powered by anti-matter. The Dev team also did their homework, as it's said that it would take humans millions of years at current production rates to make a gram of antimatter. The aliens usually have several grams in their smallest spaceship.
  • Wing Commander:
    • Antimatter is the traditional capship power source, also used on the Excalibur and its descendant, the Dragon.
    • Several capital warships also use anti-matter guns to engage targets, occasionally to the player's chagrin given that only one or two blasts are required to destroy their fighter.note 
    • M/AM plants are the primary powerplant for capital ships, and also serve to power the Excalibur and Dragon superfighters in WCIII and WCIV, respectively.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: The gun Saecelium Laser's Flavor Text is:
    Fires a condensed anti-matter beam.
  • The Big Bad of Virtue's Last Reward is responsible for planting a number of antimatter bombs around the facility in which the Nonary Game takes place.
  • X: The Terran corvette weapon is the matter/antimatter launcher, a coilgun that fires a bomb containing matter and antimatter separated by a force field. When the force field is compromised by impact or by reaching the end of its range, the matter and antimatter mix with the usual result. According to fluff, Terran ships also use matter/antimatter for power generation. Finally, the first game's novelization Farnham's Legend mentions that the Terran-built Xperimental Shuttle uses a matter-antimatter rocket for propulsion, which grants it much higher delta-v than any Community of Planets engine. By the later games the Argon have reverse-engineered the engine and now everyone uses it.
  • In X-COM: UFO Defense, the aliens use Antimatter as a power source for their weapons and UFOs. Said Antimatter is generated by an alien element called Elerium-115.

  • Antimatter is used in explosives in Schlock Mercenary, usually consisting of minuscule amounts of antimatter encased in fullerene molecules — breaking these up will cause a massive explosion. Most notably, a minor character once smuggled antimatter out of a facility in paper bags and unwittingly almost caused an entire habitat to blow up. Resident Mad Scientist Kevyn turned his uniform insignia into a pair of antimatter grenades, one of which uses some antimatter to penetrate Deflector Shields and the rest to blow up something the size of a tank, the other destroyed an enemy base, and though indirectly, brought down a spaceship in orbit of the planet. Antimatter is considered inferior as both a weapon and a fuel; it's fail-unsafe, warheads using it can't regulate their blast power the way an annie-plantnote  can, and neutronium for annie-plants is much easier to make. The size of the fullerine containment is discussed; depending on what you're using, the "container" can potentially end up weighing several hundred times more than the "fuel".
    Note: Getting one hundred and sixteen grams of antimatter into just ten kilograms of containment takes some real doing. The usual method of trapping anti-hydrogen inside a carbon buckyball will result in a far heavier containment system, since the atomic mass of the buckyball (sixty carbon atoms) is around seven hundred and twenty times that of monatomic anti-hydrogen.

    Obviously, the solution is to trap heavier antimatter. A single anti-carbon nucleus would reduce the mass ratio between the matter and antimatter from 720:1 to 60:1, and there are heavier forms of antimatter available. This, of course, raises a security question: where did Lieutenant Pibald acquire anti-copper, or anti-sodium, or (knowing his style) anti-uranium?

    Web Original 
  • Antimatter can be used magically in Chaos Fighters, and they are coated with magic to prevent reaction with air molecules.
  • In Orion's Arm, antimatter is generated by massive orbital "farms" and usually used in engines. It's considered the fastest form of propulsion that modosophonts can construct, but pales in comparison to the least of the drives that transapients can build, which also tend to be safer.
  • Antimatter is central to The Pentagon War. Hyper Bombs require 250 kilograms of positrons, and the starship Mercurand carries 100 tonnes of antihydrogen as fuel.
  • In Starsnatcher, the Seizer society produces antimatter in particle accelerators which are so big that they must be built and maintained in space. They use it to fuel spaceships such as the Dragonfly. The risk of overheating (especially for the magnets keeping antimatter separate from regular matter) is high. On a smaller scale, antimatter is also used within rifles that store nanograms of antimatter in their munition, causing huge explosions upon impact.
  • Tennyo from the Whateley Universe is half made of antimatter.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10:
    • Ben 10: Alien Force: After Kevin's car is rapidly aged and rusted by a time monster, Professor Paradox ends the episode by repairing it, but leaves a note warning Kevin that the time travel he pulled made the car temporally volatile. Word of God says that he was joking.
    Kevin, try to keep in mind that if this car comes into contact with anything else from 1976, it will explode like anti-matter. Enjoy! -Paradox.
    • Ben 10: Omniverse: Subdora wields a Positron Blaster, which Rook notes has quite a kick.
  • At the end of Exo Squad, series Big Bad Phaeton prepares to use an antimatter device to destroy the Earth rather than let the Exofleet liberate it (or die himself of Automutation Syndrome).
  • The Kim Possible episode "Mathter and Fervent" shows us that Ron, having been turned into antimatter, makes objects around him disappear when he touches them. To say nothing of how he should have exploded when he came into contact with the air...
  • In one short in the Liquid Television series The Specialists, the title characters meet their antimatter counterparts, who are chromatically opposite but otherwise identical. Typically, the short plays loose with the properties of antimatter.
  • One Scooby-Doo special has an antimatter-powered car explode.
  • The Mondays, the evil versions of The Secret Saturdays, supposedly come from an antimatter Mirror Universe, which somehow has "corrupted" laws of physics, like their version of their airship being darkness powered rather than solar powered. Matter from the two universes violently exploding on contact only occurs when Argost absorbs the antimatter powers of Zak Monday and the matter powers of Zak Saturday, despite Zak's warnings not to do so. He should've listened. Otherwise, a reaction only occurs when antimatter is in proximity with its direct positive matter counterpart, and that only causes reality to go on a break until they're separated.
  • One Space Ghost cartoon has a guy turned into antimatter. Thus, he cannot touch anything until he's turned back, lest he explode. Why he doesn't explode by simply standing on the floor, as he does throughout the episode, goes entirely unexplained.
  • Superfriends: In "Journey into Blackness", Earth starts getting sucked into a black hole. Batman attempts to stop it by blasting it with antimatter but fails, as the antimatter simply gets sucked into the black hole without destroying it.
  • An episode of The Transformers has Megatron steal an "antimatter formula" in order to turn himself into "the most powerful weapon in the universe". The end result being that his laser beams were slightly more destructive than usual, but the power ends up nearly destroying him in the process.

    Real Life 
  • Antimatter may sound rare and extremely dangerous, but actually it's quite common. For example, beta decay, one of the ways that natural radioactive elements slowly radiate away, always produces antiparticles. Powerful enough gamma radiation, i.e., photons may also create positron-electron pairs upon being absorbed. The reason this doesn't cause a catastrophe is that the masses involved are absolutely minuscule. For example, it takes six times ten to the power of twenty-six protons to make a kilogram. That's about how many grains of sand are estimated to be in the Sahara Desert.
  • PET scans rely on antimatter to work. The subject is injected with a radioactive tracer substance that emits a positron when it decays. When the positrons annihilate nearby electrons in the body, gamma rays are released that the machine can detect.
  • According to this article, physicists at Lawrence Livermore Labs have developed a way to create large numbers of positrons by shining the lab's Titan laser at a gold target. They use one of the most powerful lasers ever built to make antimatter. From gold.
  • While pure antimatter weapons are still a pipe dream, there has been talk of using antimatter components as a trigger in more conventional nuclear weapon designs to greatly increase their power and/or compactness—perfectly sound as far as the theoretical side goes. Still expensive, but less so than a pure antimatter weapon due to the lesser amounts of antimatter required. Also because a pure antimatter weapon is necessarily fail-deadly, while such a nuclear hand grenade is not.
    • One design would require under 150 nanograms of antiprotons for a ship that could make a round trip to Mars in 60 days. Large particle accellerators like CERN and the (now closed) Fermilab could make this much in a year, given suitable storage equipment. See here for more details.
  • Antimatter in the form of antineutrinos is very common; it can be produced by many nuclear reactions. However, neutrinos tend to ignore normal matter. And when we say "ignore", consider this: The nuclear reactions taking place in the core of the sun produce both light and neutrinos. The light takes somewhere between 10,000 and 170,000 years to work its way to the sun's surface. The neutrinos, on the other hand, exit the sun at (very nearly) the speed of light without interacting with any of the material in the way at all.
    • A few centimeters of lead will block half of the incident gamma rays. It would take a few light-years of lead to absorb half the incident neutrinos. On the rare occasions they do interact with normal matter (and with enough of them, they eventually will) they induce a beta-decay in the target (even if it wouldn't normally be able to beta-decay). Neutrinos convert a neutron into a proton and an electron.
    • You are being bombarded by billions of neutrinos each day. You may have lived for over a decade before your body interacted with a single neutrino.
  • Electron-positron colliders were quite common in physics.
  • To study normal matter, physicists like to use particle accelerators. To study antimatter, physicists use an antiproton decelerator.