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The blackest black yet
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And a natural for a certain aspect of "stealth technology":
Researchers in New York reported this month that they have created a paper-thin material that absorbs 99.955 percent of the light that hits it, making it by far the darkest substance ever made — about 30 times as dark as the government's current standard for blackest black.

The material, made of hollow fibers, is a Roach Motel for photons — light checks in, but it never checks out. By voraciously sucking up all surrounding illumination, it can give those who gaze on it a dizzying sensation of nothingness.

"It's very deep, like in a forest on the darkest night," said Shawn-Yu Lin, a scientist who helped create the material at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. "Nothing comes back to you. It's very, very, very dark."

But scientists are not satisfied. Using other new materials, some are trying to manufacture rudimentary Harry Potter-like cloaks that make objects inside of them literally invisible under the right conditions — the pinnacle of stealthy technology.

Both advances reflect researchers' growing ability to manipulate light, the fleetest and most evanescent of nature's offerings. The nascent invisibility cloak now being tested, for example, is made of a material that bends light rays "backward," a weird phenomenon thought to be impossible just a few years ago.
You can also imagine the "civilian" applications of this technology once it hits the open market (I'm thinking especially of the criminal element of our society).

The military applications are fairly obvious:
Known as transformation optics, the phenomenon compels some wavelengths of light to flow around an object like water around a stone. As a result, things behind the object become visible while the object itself disappears from view.

"Cloaking is just the tip of the iceberg," said Vladimir Shalaev, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University and an expert in the fledgling field. "With transformation optics you can do many other tricks," perhaps including making things appear to be located where they are not and focusing massive amounts of energy on microscopic spots.

U.S. military and intelligence agencies have funded the cloaking research "for obvious reasons," said David Schurig, a physicist and electrical engineer at North Carolina State University who recently designed and helped test a cloaking device. In that experiment, a shielded object a little smaller than a hockey puck was made invisible to a detector that uses microwaves to "see."
Anyway, a very interesting article well worth the read.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I’m still thinking of the civilian applications for the black. That stuff has to create tremendous amounts of heat when it collects all that light. I’m thinking of new energy sources.
Written By: Phelps
I have my halloween costume picked out, now. I will be a black hole (as opposed to the other, nether, hole I am ofttimes called).
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"You can also imagine the "civilian" applications of this technology once it hits the open market (I’m thinking especially of the criminal element of our society)."

Me? I just want it to cover my dashboard to eliminate the constant glare caused by the reflection of the dashboard onto the windshield. Sometimes, really bright days and when facing the sun, it’s unbearable.
Written By: Dusty
URL: http://
How insensitive...

It’s not "Black"... It’s "Photonicly Deficient".

Racist. :)
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
One of the more useful applications for such coatings is optical sensor (read: telescopes, missile seekers, etc) interior structure; it cuts down on stray-light reflections.

Martin Black was one of the potential materials of choice a couple of decades ago, but it had this unfortunate tendency to flake off and contaminate the optics.
Written By: Slartibartfast
URL: http://
I just call it "Shaft".
Written By: Dale Franks
Two words: Deer Huntin’
Written By: John
URL: http://

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