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

 

Blacker-Than-Black Corrugated Metamaterials

Researchers have discovered that a hyperbolic metamaterial with a corrugated surface has very low reflectance: ordinary black paint absorbs about 85% of incident light, whereas the new material absorbs up to 99% of incident light. It's blacker than black!

In their study, the researchers fabricated a hyperbolic metamaterial out of arrays of silver nanowires grown in alumina membranes. They found that this material absorbed about 80% of incoming light. Then, they ground the surface of the metamaterial to produce corrugations and defects, which they predicted would dramatically reduce the light reflection, increasing the absorption. Their measurements showed that the corrugated metamaterial absorbed up to 99% of incoming light, and that the radiation-absorbing capability is applicable to all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.


(Hyperbolic metamaterial with a corrugated surface [pdf])
Panel (a): the phase space “volume” enclosed by two different surfaces of constant frequency, in the cases when components of the dielectric permittivity tensor are all positive (left) and have opposite signs (right).
Panel (b): angular reflectance profiles measured on untreated (circles) and roughened (diamonds) parts of the same membrane sample in spolarization and p-polarization. Inset: reflectance profiles in the corrugated sample (same as in main panel (b), zoomed).
Panels (c) and (d): topography profiles of the untreated (c) and corrugated (d) samples.

These metamaterials will make possible a variety of applications ranging from radar stealth technology to high-efficiency solar cells and photodetectors.

Science fiction fans have been shown a variety of "blacker-than-black" materials. For example, TMA-1, the Tycho monolith from Arthur C. Clarke's 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey is described as follows:

The object before which the spacesuited man was posing was a vertical slab of jet-black material, about ten feet high and five feet wide: it reminded Floyd, somewhat ominously, of a giant tombstone. Perfectly sharp-edged and symmetrical, it was so black it seemed to have swallowed up the light falling upon it; there was no surface detail at all.

More recent authors have been more specific. The absolute black from Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Douglas Adams, 1980) and fuligin from Gene Wolfe's 1980 classic The Shadow of the Torturer are good examples.

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.

From Physics arXiv via Physorg.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/1/2011)

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 ( 4 )

Related News Stories - (" Material ")

MIT Self-Assembling Reprogrammable Materials
'Faster the cubes moved; faster the circle revolved; the pyramids raised themselves, stood bolt upright on their square bases...' - Abraham Merritt, 1920.

Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
'Jim, I saw them reduce four of my doctors and nurses into those little cubes!' - Gene Roddenberry, 1968.

Polyaramide Is Stronger Than Steel, Light As Plastic
'... harnessed by aludur straps' - Leo Zagat, 1943.

Trinitite, Pentagrams And Isaac Asimov
'...And there were horns.' - Isaac Asimov, 1956.

 

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

'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffee’s for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'

Jetson-Style Clockwork Robot Nail Salon Coming To Target Near You
The Jetsons imagined so much future.

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'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.'

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

Tongue-Controlled Tong Wearable Mouth Computer
'Griff found the white and pink map distracting and switched it off using his tongue mouse.'

Is It Better To Be Short?
'He was one of the smaller, energy-saving new breed...'

Taikonaut Tai Chi Foot Loops
'Jimmy Cardigan and Harlowe, staring through the darkside port, had their feet in the foot-loops...'

Space Billboards Would Ruin Our View Of The Cosmos
'But the rising sign, as it had been designed to do, held his eyes. A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'

Orion's 'Skip-to-M'Lou' Entry
'A lightning pilot possibly could land that tin toy without power and still walk away from it provided he had the skill to play Skip-to-M’Lou in and out of the atmosphere...'

MarsCat and MetaCat, Your Robot Cat Companions
'It was you who betrayed me — you and your robot cat.'

Mars Mission Using Nuclear Thermal Propulsion
'with its atomic engine as noiseless as a dancing sunbeam...'

Physiotherapists Get Help From Robots
'Most of the Members went into cold-rest; the others tended them...'

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.