World’s most expensive material is ‘endohedral fullerene’. It was created last year in an Oxford University Lab by British scientists and costs $150 million per gram. It is a cage of carbon atoms with nitrogen atoms housed in them.
Carbon atoms exist in many forms such as graphene and diamond, they are unique due to the number of atoms they contain. This particular material is also known as Buckminsterfullerene or Bucky ball and contains 60 carbon atoms.
It has a number of significant applications that include its use for building a small and portable atomic clock, which will reportedly be the most-accurate time-keeping system in the world. This material will also lend a hand in making GPS navigation accurate to 1mm in self-driving cars.
Dr. Kyriakos Porgyrakis, a nanomaterials scientist who has been working on the material since 2001 said, “Imagine a miniaturized atomic clock that you could carry around in your smartphone. This is the next revolution for mobile.” Doctor is also the founder of the Designer Carbon Materials, the lab that produced the material.
Lucius Cary, Director of the Oxford Technology SEIS fund adds, “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. There will be lots of applications for this technology. 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 2m is not enough, but to 1mm is enough. Every mobile phone could one day contain one of these things.”
The lab has recently made the very first sale; 200mcg of the bucky ball that were sold for £22,000.