New Black From NASA Uses Nanotubes
A new black coating from NASA is super-absorptive; it's about ten times better than black paint ordinarily used by instrument designers. Inappropriately reflected light can ruin celestial photography; they need the blackest of blacks to get the best measurements.
( Multi-walled carbon nanotubes are tiny hollow tubes made of pure carbon )
Currently, instrument developers apply black paint to baffles and other components to reduce stray light. Because reflectance tests have shown the coating to be more effective than paint, instrument developers could grow the carbon nanotubes on the components themselves, thereby simplifying instrument designs because fewer baffles would be required.
In addition to simplifying instrument design, the technology would allow scientists to gather hard-to-obtain measurements because of limitations in existing light-suppression techniques or to gather information about objects in high-contrast areas, including planets in orbit around other stars, Hagopian said.
Science fiction writers have been working with the idea of black coatings that are super-efficient; for example, the Tycho monolith from Arthur C. Clarke's 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey:
"Now the sluggish sun had lifted itself above the edge of the crater, and its rays were pouring almost broadside pon the eastern face of the block. yet it seemed to absorb every particle of light as if it had never been. Floyd decided to try a simple experiment; he stood between the monolith and the sun, and looked for his own shadow on the smooth black sheet. There was no trace of it. At least ten kilowatts of raw heat must be falling on the slab.
Readers may also recall the absolute black from Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Douglas Adams, 1980) and fuligin from Gene Wolfe's 1980 classic Shadow & Claw.
Update 10-Nov-2011: Here's an early reference to the idea of a "blacker than black" coating for materials; see the black coating from E.E. 'Doc Smith's 1939 novel Gray Lensman. Thanks to Winchell Chung of Project Rho for the tip on this item. End update.
Take a look at some of these other efforts to create a real-world blacker-than-black material:
Via Physorg; thanks to Daniel Durvin for the tip and the reference.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/5/2010)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.
Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now that’s ninety-nine percent absorptive...' - Doc Smith, 1934.
New Paper - Write With Light Erase With Heat
Writing with light, erasing with heat.
Reconfigured Graphene 10X Strong, 5 Percent Dense, As Steel
'...It was made of Alohydrolium, which is the lightest of all metals.' - Hugo Gernsback, 1911.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'
Subsurface Martian Ice Slabs Piece Of Cake For Miners
'One shy little fellow with bloodshot eyes of old-time drillman stood up. 'I'm an ice miner,' he said.'
LG Rollable Version Of Niven's Poster TV
'A television that unrolled like a poster.'
Multi-Robot Farming On Highly Sloped Land
High Plains, indeed.
Aeolus Robot Brings Jetson's Rosie Closer
Domestic duties, robotically performed.
Sony's New, Cuter Aibo Robot Puppy
Engineered to be adorable.
Earth-1 Transformer Gundam Car
Is it a Gundam? Or maybe a Transformer.
Self-Driving Domino's Pizza Car
Yes, but can it negotiate entry at your Burbclave?
I Want Massive Space Freighters!
Ah, the space freighters of old.
When Will The Feds Ban Human Drivers?
'The first laws came out forcing the old machines off the highways...'
Our World Formed In A Bubble?
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...'
Will You Live To See EM Pulse Scattering By Ships Nearing Light Speed?
'...half a million kilometers away, the Stardrive went on.'
Jabil Integrated Textile Heart Monitoring
'Della's first present was an imipolex sweatshirt called a heartshirt…'
Made In Space To Manufacture Optical Fiber In Orbit
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.
Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories