Engineers have made a new material from aluminum and carbon nanotubes that is 10 times blackest than anything that has been created before..
Initially, the MIT team did not plan to develop an ultra-black material, but experimented with ways to improve the electrical and thermal performance of electrically conductive materials. However, during the tests, they were surprised by the color of the object under study, so after the tests they decided to pay attention to its optical properties..
The material is aluminum foil, which was first cleaned of the oxide layer using salt, and then, by chemical vapor deposition, covered with a dense layer of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes.
The results of measuring the amount of light reflected by the material, incident at different angles, showed that more than 99.96% of the incoming radiation absorbed. In fact, no irregularities or protruding elements can be discerned on the surface..
The researchers are not entirely sure about the mechanism of this effect, but they suggest that due to the direct contact of the nanotubes with aluminum, they capture most of the incoming light and convert it into heat. However, this issue requires further study..
As the team collaborated with a local artist during the opening, they covered a 16.78 carat yellow diamond with the new material as part of a joint project to showcase the contrast. In addition to art, the invention can also have practical applications, for example, in optical devices and space telescopes to reduce unwanted glare..
We also previously reported on the development of polymer that can self-destruct on command.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: MIT
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