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Researchers Develop Darkest Manmade Material

SpecialChem / Feb 6, 2008

The material, a thin coating comprised of low-density arrays of loosely vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes, absorbs more than 99.9 percent of light and one day could be used to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of solar energy conversion, infrared sensors, and other devices. The researchers who developed the material have applied for a Guinness World Record for their efforts. "It is a fascinating technology, and this discovery will allow us to increase the absorption efficiency of light as well as the overall radiation-to-electricity efficiency of solar energy conservation," said Shawn-Yu Lin, professor of physics at Rensselaer and a member of the university's Future Chips Constellation, who led the research project. The key to this discovery was finding how to create a long, extremely porous vertically-aligned carbon nanotube array with certain surface randomness, therefore minimizing reflection and maximizing absorption simultaneously. Scientists have long envisioned an ideal black material that absorbs all the colors of light while reflecting no light.

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