Feeds

US boffins create darkest material ever

Blacker than a black cat in a coal cellar

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

US researchers announced yesterday they'd concocted the darkest material on the planet - a carbon nanotube substance so black it absorbs more than 99.9 per cent of light, Reuters reports.

In fact, the stuff's so unrelentingly black it's "30 times darker than a carbon substance used by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology as the current benchmark of blackness" and, with a total reflective index of just 0.045 per cent, is over three times blacker than the nickel-phosphorus alloy which currently holds the world's darkest material record.

The new black was created by researchers at Rice University in Houston in conjunction with a team from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. It's made of carbon nanotubes, standing on end "much like a patch of grass". The tubes absorb some of the light falling on them, while the gaps between the "blades" capture the rest. The material's surface is also irregular, to cut reflection.

Pulickel Ajayan, head of the Rice University team, said: "All the light that goes in is basically absorbed. It is almost pushing the limit of how much light can be absorbed into one material."

The researchers have tested the material in visible light, and will now look at how it handles the infrared and ultraviolet spectrums, as well as wavelengths used in communications systems. Ajayan noted: "If you could make materials that would block these radiations, it could have serious applications for stealth and defense."

Civilian uses for the material might include solar energy conversion, infrared detection, or astronomical observation, Ajayan added.

The team is currently seeking a world's darkest material designation by Guinness World Records. If granted, it will complement Ajayan's 2006 Guinness World Record as "co-inventor of the smallest brush in the world".

The research will be published in the upcoming issue of the journal Nano Letters. ®

Bootnote

Cue obligatory Spinal Tap quote. As the band's Nigel Tufnel said: "It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is... none. None more black."

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.