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News Science Technology

Engineers Create the Blackest Material Yet (phys.org) 176

schwit1 writes: Researchers have created the least reflective material ever made, using as inspiration the scales on the all-white cyphochilus beetle. The result was an extremely tiny nanoparticle rod resting on an equally tiny nanoparticle sphere (30 nm diameter) which was able to absorb approximately 98 to 99 percent of the light in the spectrum between 400 and 1,400nm, which meant it was able to absorb approximately 26 percent more light than any other known material — and it does so from all angles and polarizations.
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Engineers Create the Blackest Material Yet

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm wondering if this could be used to improve the efficency of solar thermal generators.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 25, 2015 @08:55AM (#50796917)

      No, at least not for home water or space heating. There the efficiency is energy gained from the Sun less energy lost to reradiation. The best materials for that job are 'selective', meaning that they are very black in the frequencies the Sun radiates the most and very shiny (low emissivity) in the infrared frequencies that a solar panel would reradiate the most.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      I'm wondering if you RTFA. Nah, you obviously didn't.

      Devices using such an application might be used for desalination projects, the team notes, and of course in solar energy collecting systems, and perhaps in optical interconnects. They also suggest the material might even lead to using a wholly new approach in the design of such devices.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        I clicked the link, kind of excited, thinking that, "Oh, I wonder how dark it is?" Then I realized I'm a moron. It's not like the pixels on my screen have a new setting saying, "This is the new black!"

  • by Anonymous Coward
    So this is what Disaster Area painted their ship with.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    How much black could it be? None more black.

  • As I recall the previous blackest material ever was already being mass produced for various buyers, how's this one compare in that respect?

  • Vantablack anyone? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Slyswede ( 945801 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @06:36AM (#50796669)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] Just sayin...
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@wo[ ]net ['rf.' in gap]> on Sunday October 25, 2015 @07:21AM (#50796733)

      Black is an interesting color.

      Black paint absorbs 90-95% of light, the military has Z306 that absorbs 96% of light (and is used for paint as well as coatings for telescopes). NASA has developed materials that absorb 99.95% of light, and Vantablack is 99.965%. The ultimate black is of course, a black hole which absorbs all light (barring quantum phenomena that results in hawking radiation).

      The human eye cannot comprehend sucn black - since our black objects all reflect significant amounts of light back. Looking at Vantablack or this, your mind actually sees a hole and doesn't register that there's something there.

      The American Chemical Society better explains this...
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, a Black Hole doesn't absorb all (100%) light; it just doesn't let it escape.

      • Here is the simplest explanation: Once a object no longer reflects light properly, you can no longer tell what shape it has. You can only see its outline.
        If you rotate it, you have trouble seeing if it was rotated if the shape is uniform(i.e sphere)
        Muh comprehension is a shitty reason to use, because we need to see reflected light to see what shape a object has, and from there we can deduct whatever.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The American Chemical Society better explains this...

        I'm not sure anything like that video- obviously aimed at ADHD 12-year-olds with its chop-and-changing animated-slideshow pointlessness and inanely intrusive library music- could be described as "better".

        I think del_diablo [slashdot.org] explained it better without any of that crap. (If you want the only part of the video that's worth seeing, it's here [youtube.com], and that could be shown just as well as static images).

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        Here's a picture of some vantablack applied on top of aluminum foil. It really looks like something out of those Wiley Coyote cartoons with "portable holes".

        http://mentalfloss.com/article... [mentalfloss.com]

        http://static.tvtropes.org/pmw... [tvtropes.org]

      • Black is an interesting color.

        Black paint absorbs 90-95% of light, the military has Z306 that absorbs 96% of light (and is used for paint as well as coatings for telescopes). NASA has developed materials that absorb 99.95% of light, and Vantablack is 99.965%. The ultimate black is of course, a black hole which absorbs all light (barring quantum phenomena that results in hawking radiation).

        The human eye cannot comprehend sucn black - since our black objects all reflect significant amounts of light back. Looking at Vantablack or this, your mind actually sees a hole and doesn't register that there's something there.

        The American Chemical Society better explains this... https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

        true, black as a color is just really dark white

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Please, enough with the Jeb Bush jokes already.
    The man's allowed to fail on his own.

    Jeesh!

  • I bet Derek Zoolander will look great in this on the runway!

  • by beowulfcluster ( 603942 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @06:46AM (#50796683)
    What are the practical applications for a breakthrough like this? Other than for a government that wants to do some redacting of their documents.
    • by stevelinton ( 4044 ) <sal@dcs.st-and.ac.uk> on Sunday October 25, 2015 @07:01AM (#50796699) Homepage

      Coating the inside of high end telescopes and related equipment to reduce stray reflections.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not just telescopes, but just about any precision optical instrument that has to deal with low light signals and stray light issues.

        For one example, there are spectrometers that look at scattered from a laser beam, and filter out the wavelength of light associated with the laser itself. For high precision work, filters can't filter out a narrow enough part of the spectrum, so some will break the light up with a diffraction grating and use a physical object to block the part of the spectrum associated with

    • by Anonymous Coward

      1. Possibly could be used as part of stealthy tech for drone and airplane design.

      2. Immediately draws all LAPD officers within a 10-block radius.

    • Painting space ships with infinite improbability drives.

      • Hey man, the heart of gold was like not painted black. The spaceship that they stole at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe was the ultrablack frictionless spaceship.
        -Zaphod.

        • FORD:
          I mean it’s so black! You can hardly even make out its shape. Light just falls into it.

          ZAPHOD:
          And feel this surface...

          FORD:
          Yeah! Hey, hey you can’t!

          ZAPHOD:
          See? It’s totally frictionless. Oh this must be one mother of a mover. I bet even the cigar lighter’s on photon drive, well whadda ya reckon Ford?

          FORD:
          What? You mean stroll off with it? Do you think we should?

          ZAPHOD: No. Let's do it.
    • It gets us 1 step closer to being able to 3D tissue print a replacement for Dick Cheyney's heart.

    • by irussel ( 78667 )

      Album covers by hair metal bands.

    • Think of any situation you wish to avoid stray light.

      - The edges of optics
      - Lens hoods
      - The inside of a spectrum analyser

      Just to name a few.

    • What are the practical applications for a breakthrough like this? Other than for a government that wants to do some redacting of their documents.

      might be good on redfish.

    • What are the practical applications for a breakthrough like this? Other than for a government that wants to do some redacting of their documents.

      Bring it to Best Buy any Friday to get 75% off.

    • What are the practical applications for a breakthrough like this? Other than for a government that wants to do some redacting of their documents.

      put it in a Keurig pod and sell it as decaf

    • What are the practical applications for a breakthrough like this? Other than for a government that wants to do some redacting of their documents.

      Lucas headlights for British cars.

  • Right, and how does it compare to souls of Satya Nadella, Tim Cook, Obama or Bush jr?

    • Right, and how does it compare to souls of Satya Nadella, Tim Cook, Obama or Bush jr?

      Blacker than those, but not as black as the souls of Hillary Clinton or Dick Cheney. Perhaps the same color as Donald Trump's soul, but that's hard to tell because for some reason he's had his covered with gold sequins.

    • Obama isn't "black" at all, doesn't have the american black experience in his upbringing. He fooled millions of black voters. In fact, the phrase "rare species of wigger" comes to mind

      • Obama isn't "black" at all, doesn't have the american black experience in his upbringing. He fooled millions of black voters. In fact, the phrase "rare species of wigger" comes to mind

        Yes, this material should be renamed as the most African-American material ever.

  • When I was in high school in the 80's and was taught the Wien and black body radiation model, our teacher told us that there is way to produce a "black body surface" which absorbs virtually all incoming radiation (more than the TFA:s 98-99%), and that is to make a chamber with the inside walls painted black and to drill a hole in one of the walls of the chamber. That orifice will be a very, very good approximation of a black body.

    Granted, it's kind of hard to construct objects with orifices only...

    • I've made something similar with razor or Exacto type blades. when arranged abutting each other, they reflect all the light away from you.

      When looking for a reference, I had no idea it was patented:

      http://www.google.com/patents/... [google.com]

      I'd done this since the 70's, and Gillette patented it in 1986

    • When I was in high school in the 80's and was taught the Wien and black body radiation model, our teacher told us that there is way to produce a "black body surface" which absorbs virtually all incoming radiation (more than the TFA:s 98-99%), and that is to make a chamber with the inside walls painted black and to drill a hole in one of the walls of the chamber. That orifice will be a very, very good approximation of a black body.

      Granted, it's kind of hard to construct objects with orifices only...

      yeah, we had that too. makes good theoretical sense. on an equally nerdy level, we used to buy black flocked paper from Edmund Scientific for our telescope making forays, absorbs much better than flat black paint. Same idea; keep the reflections bouncing back into another absorbing surface, minimal escape.

  • is going to use this stuff to make a Halloween costume this year.
    • is going to use this stuff to make a Halloween costume this year.

      oohhhh, sexy black hole costume.....

  • How much different is it than this?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/n... [independent.co.uk]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's so black, it's offended at the racist joke I was trying to come up with referencing fried chicken, being good at dancing, and naming girls with names that end in "isha"...

  • I bet it's not as black as our Mam's Black Pudding. One day she made a Black Pudding so black, even t'white bits were black.

    And if you get that reference you must be as old as me :)
  • Still not as black as my ex-wife's heart.

  • by willworkforbeer ( 924558 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @09:37AM (#50797003)
    Scoffs at your somewhat blackish material, awaits actual wearable black hole.
  • - Too black to see.

    - That's the blackest black ever, fam.

    - That's blacker than my cousin Femi.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What percentage of those who have gone this black are able to go back?

  • only hackers have true black dye tubs

  • This must be how they made the Disaster Area stunt ships

  • by RNLockwood ( 224353 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @12:42PM (#50797739) Homepage

    The particles absorb photons over a wide band, violet through 'thermal'. Presumably the energy is dissipated as though from a black body unless it is removed by conduction. For example when illuminated by visible light they would radiate mostly in the infrared (unless the absorbed energy is removed by conduction) and would be seen to glow in infrared.

    If they could be tweaked to absorb better at a wavelength that is best transmitted by human tissue and attached to an antibody that attaches to cancer cells they might be used as antennae to heat and destroy the cells.

  • Where are the photos of this new blackest materiel yet?!
    • Where are the photos of this new blackest materiel yet?!

      They're being held in evidence. Apparently the police shot the material ...

  • by jandjmh ( 66714 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @02:39PM (#50798249) Homepage

    Are the creators of this material even aware of Vantablack? Their new material seems far inferior ...

  • "It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black."
  • What if.... they combined the blackest material ever, with the most metal material ever?!??
  • I thought this was going to be some new videos from the Apollo.

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