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Space Science Technology

NASA Creates Super-Black Carbon Nanotube Coating 132

An anonymous reader writes "NASA has just revealed a new, super-black material, claiming it is the most light absorbent material ever developed, and capable of absorbing 99% of ultraviolet, infrared, far-infrared, and visible light. The super-black material is about 10,000 times thinner than a human hair and created using carbon nanotubes. Those nanotubes are positioned and grown on multiple other materials including silicon, stainless steel, and titanium. The process of applying the coating requires heating the surface up to 1,382 degrees in an oven filled with a 'carbon-coating feedstock gas.' As well as being up to 100x more absorbent than anything that has come before, the coating is significantly lighter than the black paint and epoxy commonly used today to absorb light. Because the light absorption level is so high, the super-black material will also keep temperatures down for the instruments it is used on. And that very high absorption rate brings one final big advantage: it allows measurements to be taken at much greater distances in space because it removes the light emitted from around planets and stars as well as any generally high-contrast area of space."
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NASA Creates Super-Black Carbon Nanotube Coating

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  • 1,382 degrees F (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @07:46PM (#38006572) Homepage Journal

    Since the scale wasn't mentioned, unless you read TFA.

    Hmm. This would be awesomes for people who put solar heat collectors on their roofs in the Great White North. I wonder how soon it can be done affordably.

    Better market prospect for that than Solyndra.

  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @08:26PM (#38007032)

    It *is* possible to create nanotube based semiconductors by carefully introducing latice defects into the tube walls. (Creates a nanotube diode)

    Sorry, paywalled:
    http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.matsci.34.040203.112300 [annualreviews.org]

    Combined, the two technologies could be used to fashion an absurdly efficient solar collector. The problem is that not all photons are created equally, and that absorbed spectra might not carry sufficient energy to hop the bandgap. This would only cause the nanotubes to get hot, and reemit the photons only to be captured again by the neighbors.

    Perhaps if total energy absorption is high enough, then multiple photons could be used to hop the gap, (like in red light on chlorophyll) but that would have to be some strange juju.

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.