David Kirkpatrick

August 18, 2010

The world’s darkest material

I’ve previously blogged on a world’s darkest material in the past (couldn’t find the post in the archives, however) and it was nanotech-based as well so it’s possible this is the same stuff. Pretty cool either way.

From the link:

Harnessing darkness for practical use, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed a laser power detector coated with the world’s darkest material — a forest of carbon nanotubes that reflects almost no light across the visible and part of the infrared spectrum.

NIST will use the new ultra-dark detector, described in a new paper in ,* to make precision laser power measurements for advanced technologies such as optical communications, laser-based manufacturing, solar energy conversion, and industrial and satellite-borne sensors.

Inspired by a 2008 paper by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) on “the darkest man-made material ever,”** the NIST team used a sparse array of fine nanotubes as a coating for a thermal detector, a device used to measure . A co-author at Stony Brook University in New York grew the nanotube coating. The coating absorbs  and converts it to heat, which is registered in pyroelectric material (lithium tantalate in this case). The rise in temperature generates a current, which is measured to determine the power of the laser. The blacker the coating, the more efficiently it absorbs light instead of reflecting it, and the more accurate the measurements.

This is a colorized micrograph of the world’s darkest material — a sparse “forest” of fine carbon nanotubes — coating a NIST laser power detector. Image shows a region approximately 25 micrometers across. Credit: Aric Sanders, NIST

July 11, 2008

A whole slew of nanotechnology news

In a departure from the usual format, here’s a roundup of nanotech news from the last two days of KurzweilAI.net’s e-newsletter. There’s so much here these bits are taken straight from the email.

Controlling the Size of
Nanoclusters: First Step in Making
New Catalysts
KurzweilAI.net July 10, 2008
Researchers from the U.S.
Department of Energy’s (DOE)
Brookhaven National Laboratory and
Stony Brook University have
developed a new instrument that
allows them to control the size of
nanoclusters — groups of 10 to 100
atoms — with atomic precision. The
device could allow for making
nanoclusters with predetermined
size, structure and…

Nanotubes Hold Promise for
Next-Generation Computing
Wired July 9, 2008
Two groups of researchers have
recently published papers
demonstrating advances in creating,
sorting and organizing carbon
nanotubes so they can be used in
electronics. Stanford electrical
engineers addressed the problem of
getting nanotubes straightened out
so they could be put to work in
chips, by growing the nanotubes on
crystalline quartz,…

Assembling Nanotubes
Technology Review July 10, 2008
Stanford University and Samsung
Advanced Institute of Technology
researchers have developed a new
method for sorting single-walled
carbon nanotubes by electronic type
and arranging them over a large
area; it could be useful for
manufacturing high-performance
displays and other electronic
devices. (Melburne LeMieux /
Stanford University)…

Nanotubes bring artificial
photosynthesis a step nearer
New Scientist news service July 11, 2008
Carbon nanotubes are the crucial
chemical ingredient that could make
artificial photosynthesis possible,
say Chinese researchers. Artificial
photosynthesis could efficiently
produce hydrogen that could be used
as a clean fuel and also mop up
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
By covalently bonding a large number
of phthalocyanine molecules…