Most people may think the most expensive substance on Earth is diamond, but it turns out the most expensive matter is… anti-matter.
What is Anti-Matter?
Anti-matter is basically a particle’s opposite, having the same mass but opposite electrical charge. When matter and anti-matter meet, they cancel each other out and produce intense photons, neutrinos, and sometimes less-massive particle-antiparticle pairs.
Why So Expensive?
Anti-matter occurs naturally, like when cosmic rays hit our Earth’s atmosphere, in thunderstorms, and by radioactive radiation but it’s impractical to capture because they basically explode when you touch them.
The Hydron Collider at CERN can artificially produce the simplest anti-particle, anti-hydrogen, but costs about $62.5 trillion per gram. Some scientists think we can figure out how to produce it for just $5 billion per gram, yet other anti-elements would be even more expensive.
CERN concentrates enormous energy into super small space to create antiparticles that are separated magnetically. After producing them, they must be kept in special vacuum storage with electromagnetic fields to suspend them away from touching the container otherwise, they’ll explode instantly.
Only mad scientists would go through the trouble of making such an insanely expensive material if it didn’t have at least some potential practical use.
Well, anti-matter is the most energy dense fuel than any other because it’s entire mass becomes energy. Since it costs so much more energy to produce than to make, it’s not the answer to clean sustainable energy. Instead, scientists have been considering it as a rocket fuel to boost ships closer to the speed of light, but this still seems highly… anti-likely.
But if you dropped a raisin-sized amount of antimatter on the ground, it would create an explosion bigger than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.
Also, if you made an antimatter bullet with 1 billionth fo a gram of positrons attached to its tip, when fired, the bullet would be able to destroy an entire house or something that is of similar size.
Some nuclear isomers can cost up to $1 billion per gram. Their atomic nucleus has more than its minimum amount of energy. Most nuclei in their “excited” state revert to their minimum state in a split second, releasing gamma-ray energies that are used in weapons, etc. These are also super expensive because they can only be made in tiny amounts in expensive particle colliders.