Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

New Black From NASA Uses Nanotubes

A new black coating from NASA is super-absorptive; it's about ten times better than black paint ordinarily used by instrument designers. Inappropriately reflected light can ruin celestial photography; they need the blackest of blacks to get the best measurements.


( Multi-walled carbon nanotubes are tiny hollow tubes made of pure carbon )

Currently, instrument developers apply black paint to baffles and other components to reduce stray light. Because reflectance tests have shown the coating to be more effective than paint, instrument developers could grow the carbon nanotubes on the components themselves, thereby simplifying instrument designs because fewer baffles would be required.

In addition to simplifying instrument design, the technology would allow scientists to gather hard-to-obtain measurements because of limitations in existing light-suppression techniques or to gather information about objects in high-contrast areas, including planets in orbit around other stars, Hagopian said.

Science fiction writers have been working with the idea of black coatings that are super-efficient; for example, the Tycho monolith from Arthur C. Clarke's 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey:

"Now the sluggish sun had lifted itself above the edge of the crater, and its rays were pouring almost broadside pon the eastern face of the block. yet it seemed to absorb every particle of light as if it had never been. Floyd decided to try a simple experiment; he stood between the monolith and the sun, and looked for his own shadow on the smooth black sheet. There was no trace of it. At least ten kilowatts of raw heat must be falling on the slab.

Readers may also recall the absolute black from Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Douglas Adams, 1980) and fuligin from Gene Wolfe's 1980 classic Shadow & Claw.

Update 10-Nov-2011: Here's an early reference to the idea of a "blacker than black" coating for materials; see the black coating from E.E. 'Doc Smith's 1939 novel Gray Lensman. Thanks to Winchell Chung of Project Rho for the tip on this item. End update.

Take a look at some of these other efforts to create a real-world blacker-than-black material:

Via Physorg; thanks to Daniel Durvin for the tip and the reference.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/5/2010)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Material ")

Goldene - A Two-Dimensional Sheet Of Gold One Atom Thick
'Hasan always pitched a Gauzy - a one-molecule-layer tent, opaque, feather-light, and very tough.' - Roger Zelazny, 1966.

GNoME AI From DeepMind Invents Millions Of New Materials
'...the legendary creativity of our finest human authors pales against the mathematical indefatigability of GNoME.'

Omniphobic Liquid-like Surfaces And de Camp's Telelubricator (1940)
'So the surface, to the depth of a few molecules, is put in the condition of a supercooled liquid as long as the beam is focused on it.' - L. Sprague de Camp, 1940.

MXenes - Atomic-Thin Metal Sheets Now Easier To Make
'...a rolled-up sheet of a thin, dark metal strange to them.' - John Edwards, 1934.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Space Exporers! Now, You Can Drink Your Own Urine
'those suits they wear -- call them 'stillsuits' -- that reclaim the body's own water...'

SpaceX EVA Spacesuit Tested By Polaris Dawn Crew
'Now, except for weight and heat, the same conditions prevail in this chamber as in space.'

Automatic Bot Traffic Is 38 Percent Of HTTP Requests
'there were so many worms and counterworms loose in the data-net...'

Shanghai Guidelines For Humanoid Robots
'Now, look, let's start with the three fundamental Rules of Robotics...'

Desktop TARS Robot From Interstellar
What's YOUR sarcasm setting?

Robots Can Now Have Smiling Faces With Human Skin
'I am a cybernetic organism...'

Virtual Rat Predicts Actual Rat Neural Activity
'..the synthetic intellects at the Place of Knowledge had far outstripped the minds of men.'

GoSun EV Solar Charger Drapes Onto Your Car
'...six square yards of sunpower screens.'

Rizon 4 Ironing Robot
'But after washing and drying clothes had to be smooth - free from fine lines and wrinkles ...'

Cognify - A Prison Of The Mind We've Seen Before In SF
'So I serve a hundred years in one day...'

Robot With Human Brain Organoid - 'A Thrilling Story Of Mechanistic Progress'
'A human brain snugly encased in a transparent skull-shaped receptacle.'

Goodness Gracious Me! Google Tries Face Recognition Security
'The actuating mechanism that should have operated by the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell...'

With Mycotecture, We'll Just Grow The Space Habitats We Need
'The only real cost was in the plastic balloon that guided the growth of the coral and enclosed the coral's special air-borne food.'

Can A Swarm Of Deadly Drones Take Out An Aircraft Carrier?
'The border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

WiFi and AI Team Up To See Through Walls
'The pitiless M rays pierced Earth and steel and densest concrete as if they were so much transparent glass...'

Climate Engineering In California Could Make Europe's Heat Waves Worse
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.