Blacker-Than-Black Corrugated Metamaterials

Researchers have discovered that a hyperbolic metamaterial with a corrugated surface has very low reflectance: ordinary black paint absorbs about 85% of incident light, whereas the new material absorbs up to 99% of incident light. It's blacker than black!

In their study, the researchers fabricated a hyperbolic metamaterial out of arrays of silver nanowires grown in alumina membranes. They found that this material absorbed about 80% of incoming light. Then, they ground the surface of the metamaterial to produce corrugations and defects, which they predicted would dramatically reduce the light reflection, increasing the absorption. Their measurements showed that the corrugated metamaterial absorbed up to 99% of incoming light, and that the radiation-absorbing capability is applicable to all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.


(Hyperbolic metamaterial with a corrugated surface [pdf])
Panel (a): the phase space “volume” enclosed by two different surfaces of constant frequency, in the cases when components of the dielectric permittivity tensor are all positive (left) and have opposite signs (right).
Panel (b): angular reflectance profiles measured on untreated (circles) and roughened (diamonds) parts of the same membrane sample in spolarization and p-polarization. Inset: reflectance profiles in the corrugated sample (same as in main panel (b), zoomed).
Panels (c) and (d): topography profiles of the untreated (c) and corrugated (d) samples.

These metamaterials will make possible a variety of applications ranging from radar stealth technology to high-efficiency solar cells and photodetectors.

Science fiction fans have been shown a variety of "blacker-than-black" materials. For example, TMA-1, the Tycho monolith from Arthur C. Clarke's 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey is described as follows:

The object before which the spacesuited man was posing was a vertical slab of jet-black material, about ten feet high and five feet wide: it reminded Floyd, somewhat ominously, of a giant tombstone. Perfectly sharp-edged and symmetrical, it was so black it seemed to have swallowed up the light falling upon it; there was no surface detail at all.

More recent authors have been more specific. The absolute black from Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Douglas Adams, 1980) and fuligin from Gene Wolfe's 1980 classic The Shadow of the Torturer are good examples.

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.

From Physics arXiv via Physorg.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/1/2011)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )

Related News Stories - (" Material ")

Self-Healing Circuits From Carnegie Mellon
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures...'- Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
'Dew collectors,' he muttered, enchanted by the simple beauty of such a scheme. - Frank Herbert, 1965.

Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'- J.G. Ballard, 1962.

3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.

ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.

When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'

Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'

Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'

Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.

Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'

Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.

SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.