Monday, 14 July 2014 06:31

Scientists develop superblack material from carbon nanotubes

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If you thought carbon nanotubes were just for making CPUs then you (just like us) were way off. It seems that in addition to their usage in building smaller and faster CPUs they can also be used to make materials that are simply out of this world as a British company has shown. Surrey NanoSystems has used carbon nanotubes to create a material so black that only 0.035% of light is reflected from it.

The new material will be called Vantablack and is gown on sheets of aluminum foil. It consists of hundreds of thousands of nanotubes in a weave. Nanotubes are so small that light particles cannot pass through them. It is possible for light particles to find gaps in the weave, but even then the particles end up bouncing around inside and are eventually absorbed.

We are sure that some of you are already thinking about invisibility applications, and Surrey NanoSystems have probably already been contacted about military applications. However, it is also interesting to find out that this material has a more scientific application. Having a super black material like this can be used to calibrate telescopes and infrared systems. By pointing the optics at material like this it allows the engineers to expand the visual range of the device and “see” better in the dark regions of space.

For the rest of us, this material will not really render you invisible. Instead if you were to look at it all you would see is a black void. Because there is almost no reflected light shapes, textures and contours would not be discernable. Vantablack also is much more efficient at heat transfer (7.5 x what copper can manage) and has ten times the tensile strength of steel… Hmmm now I am seeing a heatsink made of this stuff, maybe with some cool lighting…

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Read 2481 times Last modified on Monday, 14 July 2014 06:36

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