Antimatter gets used a lot in SciFi due to it's mind-bending energy density. If you can store it in a form that requires no power and is at least mildly idiot-proof then you've just solved half of your space-civilisation's energy problems. However, all of our current technologies have a drawback, either they require a power source1, they don't scale well2, have poor containment time3 or all of the above.

Now Carbon buckyballs are amazing things, they are quite stable, can be made with an arc welder and some pencils, they're not particularly toxic (unless you inhale a fine cloud of them) and they even "dissolve" in common hydrocarbons4.

Now, given that single ions have been trapped in Carbon buckyballs before... could we also store an antimatter ion inside one?

Lots of molecules have electric dipoles (which work a lot like magnets... just, without the magnets), if the buckyball was doped so that it had a couple dipoles on the inside pointing towards the single antimatter ion, could it be used to make a molecular Penning trap?

Note: Full-blown scientific realism is not a requirement, but it'd be nice if there was something that, on the surface, actually seemed plausible

[1] Aka. another point of failure, aka. the thing that converts the "off" switch into the "explode now" switch
[2] But at least we got the Eveready electric toothbrush out of it...
[3] Wherein you can fly to the stars... just not for long - Aka. Range Anxiety, but in space!
[4] Forget Premium, you want Positronium Unleaded

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    $\begingroup$ electric dipoles work a lot like magnets? Citation needed $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Apr 11 '20 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ Even if you take away all its thermal energy by creating a buckball housing a B-E condensate, you're still going to need to deal with overlapping wavefunctions of electron-shells and positron-shells. It'll go boom sooner or later, probably. $\endgroup$ – A Rogue Ant. Apr 11 '20 at 3:11
  • $\begingroup$ I think what OP meant is that the geometry of the Electric field produced by Electric Dipole is analogous to the magnetic field produced by magnets $\endgroup$ – user110866 Apr 11 '20 at 3:18
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    $\begingroup$ The problem with using Electric potentials alone is that they are inherently unstable; Earnshaw's theorem. Thus a magnetic field is always required as per the Penning Trap, which is already used in ALPHA to store antihydrogen $\endgroup$ – user110866 Apr 11 '20 at 3:52
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs in Physics, not Worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ – The Daleks Apr 11 '20 at 16:40

Not remotely plausible.

The problem here is that the anti-matter cannot be confined by such a weak field and, much, much worse the electron "clouds" that bind the buckyball certainly won't confine themselves neatly to regions not occupied by the anti-matter. Nor will the anti-matter.

So they'll "eventually" (probably very, very quickly) detonate in a nasty little chain reaction.

To put eventually in perspective, CERN (who know a thing or two about anti-matter) announced back in 2011 that they had succeeded in confining anti-hydrogen atoms for a massive 16 minutes ! That's CERN (!) with a PhD required to change the light bulbs, as it were, and a budget and equipment large enough to scare accountants.

And that was "just" 300 anti-hydrogen atoms !

The biggest problem you face, apart from the buckyball exploding spontaneously in very short order, is getting the anti-matter inside in the first place. You cannot form them like normal buckyballs using a chemical process and you'd practically have to somehow assemble the buckyball around the anti-matter which was not confined to start with. That's atom by atom.

By comparison a portable fusion reactor sounds downright sane.

  • $\begingroup$ By comparison a portable fusion reactor sounds downright sane. We wants one, precious. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Apr 12 '20 at 11:34

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