If you think gold, platinum or palladium is expensive, you might be shocked at the cost of endohedral fullerene. Selling the weight of ⅕ of a snowflake for $32,000, this material costs $160 million dollars per gram. At the time of writing this gold is priced at $35.33/gram.
Endohedral fullerenes were first discovered in 1985, these insanely expensive metals are spherical carbon nanostructures. This metal consists of fullerene cages of only 60 carbon atoms and trap simple molecules like nitrogen, phosphorus and helium. These nanostructures have the ability to change how we keep time due to an extra long electron spin lifetime when filled with nitrogen.It is thought that this compound will allow for the most accurate time-keeping system in the world. But the really exciting part is shrinking of the size required to keep atomic time. From the size of a cabinet to the size of a microchip, so they could be installed all sorts of devices.
With a more precise clock, GPS accuracy could go from within 1-5 meters to accurate to 1 millimeter.
“At the moment, atomic clocks are room-sized. This endohedral fullerene would make it work on a chip that could go into your mobile phone,” Lucius Cary, director of the Oxford Technology SEIS fund – which holds a minor stake in Designer Carbon Materials – told Rebecca Burn-Callander at The Telegraph.
“There will be lots of applications for this technology,” he added. “The most obvious is in controlling autonomous vehicles. If two cars are coming towards each other on a country lane, knowing where they are to within 2 metres is not enough, but to 1 mm it is enough.”
Endohedral fullerenses has only one competitor for world’s most expensive material, antimatter. NASA estimates it would cost approximately $61 trillion to produce 1 gram of antimatter.
The material was sold by a spin off of the University of Oxford called Designer Carbon Materials.