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MIT engineers accidentally create a new king of darkness

By Shawn Knight · 14 replies
Sep 13, 2019 at 12:22 PM
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  1. Engineers from MIT have crafted a material that is 10 times blacker than any other material previously reported. Best yet, they weren’t even trying.

    The material is comprised of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes grown on the surface of chlorine-etched aluminum foil. The team was experimenting with ways to grow carbon nanotubes on electrically conducting materials in order to boost their electrical and thermal properties. The material’s color came as a surprise.

    “I remember noticing how black it was before growing carbon nanotubes on it, and then after growth, it looked even darker,” said Kehang Cui, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a co-author on a paper on the material. “So I thought I should measure the optical reflectance of the sample.”

    Testing revealed that the material absorbed more than 99.995 percent of light, from every angle. Vantablack, the super-black coating from Surrey NanoSystems that was previously considered the darkest man-made substance, absorbs 99.965 percent of light.

    Brian Wardle, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, conceded that the blackest black is a constantly moving target. “Someone will find a blacker material,” he said, “and eventually we’ll understand all the underlying mechanisms and will be able to properly engineer the ultimate black.”

    MIT’s material is on display as part of a new exhibit at the New York Stock Exchange. Titled “The Redemption of Vanity,” the art installation features a 16.78-carat natural yellow diamond coated in the material. The normally sparkling gem appears as a flat, black void with the coating.

    Permalink to story.

  2. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,567   +1,172

    Oh My Goodness.

    That Black is Blacker than Black.
  3. Jeff Re

    Jeff Re TS Addict Posts: 164   +130

    ...How much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.
    m3tavision and MonsterZero like this.
  4. Seraphim401

    Seraphim401 TS Booster Posts: 77   +29

    Black is the new black.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  5. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,237   +1,671

    I would love to get some of this for creating illusions.
    MikitaM likes this.
  6. GreenNova343

    GreenNova343 TS Guru Posts: 371   +255

    Is it blacker than the foulest witch?
    MonsterZero likes this.
  7. m3tavision

    m3tavision TS Evangelist Posts: 314   +211

    One of my favorite lines...
  8. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,666   +4,020

    Oh great .... now we have a new feature of the dark side ......
    Seraphim401 likes this.
  9. PEnnn

    PEnnn TS Addict Posts: 140   +113

    "testing revealed that the material absorbed more than 99.995 percent of light, from every angle"

    They should call it........."Black Hole Black". It absorbs almost 100% of light, and in case of the BMW, that much of your money!
  10. Colonel Blimp

    Colonel Blimp TS Enthusiast Posts: 56   +29

    So this is how the aliens hide their spaceships.
    MikitaM likes this.
  11. MarkHughes

    MarkHughes TS Addict Posts: 188   +98

    So they mention one practical use in telescopes, What else could it be used for ?

    Could it be used in monitors and TV's to create a very dark black ? Does it have any use in solar power generation maybe ?
    MikitaM likes this.
  12. GregonMaui

    GregonMaui TS Booster Posts: 165   +57

    Any blacker and it would have its own event horizon!
    mcborge and Seraphim401 like this.
  13. ShadowDeath

    ShadowDeath TS Addict Posts: 123   +53

    As a native Texan I feel a heat stroke coming on just looking at this.
  14. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,639   +605

    And my remote control was never seen again. Am I the only one getting tired of all my electronics being white or black for the last 2+ decades? It looks cool but everything blends in. Oldish people problems lol
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,579   +5,139

    I'm wondering if this should be used instead of a green screen.

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