Scientists at Designer Carbon Material, an Oxford-based scientific startup, are now producing world’s most expensive material known as endohedral fullerenes which is valued at $167 million per gram.
Endohedral fullerenes, also known as endofullerenes, are spherical carbon nanostructures that consist of cage of 60 carbon atoms with atoms the atoms of non-metals or simple molecules such as nitrogen, helium and phosphorous inside. Inside these cages of 60 carbon atoms, which is also known as buckminsterfullerene, carbon atoms align similarly as the vertices of a football, which is why endohedral fullerenes has been nicknamed “bucky balls.”
As for now, scientists are now investigating the possibility of using this incredibly valuable material in very small and very accurate atomic clocks, which are currently of the size of a room. The team expect using this material would make the timekeeping devices even more accurate than ever before.
Since edoheradral fullerenes could downsize atomic clocks from the size of a cabinet to a microchip, it could be installed on phones or integrated with GPS devices. And with it, GPS devices could bring its position to an accuracy of one millimetre, compared to the current GPS devices accuracy of around one to five metres.
“Imagine a minaturised atomic clock that you could carry around in your smartphone,” Dr. Kyriakos Porfyrakis, who’s the founder of Designer Carbon Material told The Telegraph. “This is the next revolution for mobile.”
These tiny atomic clocks won’t be around any time soon, however, the first batch of the material was sold to a consortium of researchers in the UK and US, including those from Oxford University, who “work on the production of atomic clocks based on this material,” Kyriakos Porfyrakis told Ars Technica.