I am applying for graduate school in pure mathematics and I recently got very interested in C*-algebra.

I am definitely wrong but I get the feeling that C*-algebras is not as popular as other areas of pure mathematics like number theory, analysis, algebraic geometry, etc. It also seems that most top ranked universities like MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, etc do not have any active research group in C*-algebras.

If my observations is right, then what is the reason? Is it because C*-algebra is harder than other areas of pure mathematics or is it because it is still a young area of pure mathematics?

Given that I am interested in C*-algebras and most top ranked universities are not active in this area, where can I apply? Also, will doing graduate work in C*-algebras instead other more popular areas of pure mathematics have a negative effect on my academic career?