Professor Niels Madsen is an experimental physicist who specializes in work on fundamental physics with antimatter.
His research interests include antihydrogen, atomic physics, laser cooling, plasma physics, fundamental physics, spectroscopy and non-neutral plasmas.
He played a significant role in the ATHENA team that first formed low energy antihydrogen in 2002 and is co-founder and group leader in the ALPHA collaboration that was the first group to trap antihydrogen and observe the first quantum transitions in it.
Professor Madsen has a research group at CERN which plays a leading role in the ALPHA experiment in both physics and hardware and software design, and led the effort to implement key techniques which resulted in the first antihydrogen trapping.
He was awarded a Royal Society Senior Leverhulme Fellowship in 2010 and in 2011 received the James Dawson award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research.
The ALPHA collaboration works at the Antiproton Decelerator at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
The experiment is a collaboration between a number of institutions which aims to trap antihydrogen, with eye towards doing spectroscopy on this trapped antihydrogen atoms for precision comparison with hydrogen.
This comparison is motivated by the observation that the universe, counter to what one should expect from current understanding, consists only of matter. According to fundamental theories the universe should have been symmetric in the sense that it should consist of equal amounts of antimatter and matter.
One possible explanation for the discrepancy is that there is a small (and unexpected) difference between matter and antimatter.
Swansea's contribution to the ALPHA project: