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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )
Related News Stories -
How To Encode The 'Memory' Of Materials
'Just jar it, and it falls into that structure like a rubber figure returning to shape.' - Samuel R. Delany, 1966.
Surface Film Repels All Bacteria
'Most gentlemen's and ladies' gloves nowadays were constructed of infinitesimal fabricules that knew how to eject dirt...'- Neal Stephenson, 1995
Frictionless Toilet Could Save 140 Billion Liters Of Water
'The bowl was a frictionless surface...' Niven and Pournelle, 1974.
Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.
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.
Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).
Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'
Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'
Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'
Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'
The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'
Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'
Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'
Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'
Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'
NASA's Electric Motor Scooter
'...all the [lunar] prospectors took bicycles along as a matter of course'
Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.'
Students Surveilled By School Phone Apps
Cheer up, students. '...cracking my SchoolBook had been easy.'
Massage Robot Has Soft Hands, Er, Pads
'The automatic massager began to fumble gently over my naked form.'
Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'
Elon Musk's Traffic Tunnel Challenge Is Boring
'The car vibrated... threading the maze of local tubes.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories