This Is The Most Expensive Substance In The World

Expensive things carry their own kind of prestige, whether you actually want to own them or not. But what exactly is it that makes a thing so costly? Why are substances like diamonds, gold and uranium so expensive? Usually, the answer is that they're rare and people either want them or need them for something. Diamonds are a carefully controlled market, gold is both rare and ingrained in our minds as a symbol of wealth, and as for uranium ... well, you know.   

But what if you take that train of thought to its logical extreme? Let's say there was a single substance that's so absurdly expensive that it would make even Bill Gates go: "Whoa, that's a bit on the pricey side." It turns out that such a strange substance exists, though you probably wouldn't want to find a bunch of it under your couch cushions. Let's take a look at the most expensive substance in the world.

Antimatter costs more than you can believe

Sure, things like precious metals and fine spices are expensive. However, no substance on Earth can hold a torch to the elusive antimatter. The European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, is happy to point out that the fact that there's way more antimatter than matter is one of the profound mysteries of the universe, but that's just part of its estimated value. Its true cost comes from the fact that it's extremely difficult to get a hold of the stuff.   

According to Steven Farmer's book Strange Chemistry: The Stories Your Chemistry Teacher Wouldn't Tell You (via Science To Go), antimatter costs no less than $62.5 trillion (as in, $62.5 million millions) per gram. This is because scientists have tried to obtain and contain the substance for years, and as a result, the collective scientific community has spent a ridiculous amount of time and money on the technology and know-how required for the project. CERN's famous Large Hadron Collider alone cost roughly $4.75 billion, and has annual operationg costs of $1 billion. There's also the fact that it takes about 100 billion years to produce a gram of the only antimatter we've managed to get a hold on, antihydrogen. 

Of course, some of that may be nitpicking a bit. In fact the Telegraph has noted that some scientists have given antimatter a significantly smaller monetary value. Still, even that massively deflated value would be a whopping $25 billion per gram.