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Some seriously black stuff is the new black

January 16, 2010

On a less serious note: (To all artists & people concerned with colour)

Recently a New York-based scientist, Dr Pulickel Ajayan (whose slogan is just as cool as his research: “Creativity is our mission and science is our passion”. Can you dig it?!) Anyways, he produced a material that is three times blacker than the worlds blackest substance (and 30 times darker than the carbon-based ‘gold-standard black’ held by US National Institute of Standards and Technology!).

(Don’t you just love scientists?!? I mean, here I am, spending my days fuffing around the studio worrying mainly about whether Warm Gray No. 4 will do the job or if Cool Gray No. 5 would be better, while they are out there producing new colours!)

This amazing new blackness is a coating consisting of a sheet of nanotubes, which are incredibly tiny straws of carbon atoms, each 5000 times thinner than a human hair. The result is pretty much a nano-scale version of a bamboo forest with the tubes standing vertically, side by side, their tops entangled to make an irregular surface. Together these little guys make a material that is good at absorbing light but doesn’t reflect it because all light gets trapped in between the bamboos and absorbed by their carbon walls. So even if a ray of light manages to ricochet off one nanotube, it will still be caught by a neighboring one – basically, light enters the material and gets trapped.

Dr Ajayan received a well-deserved spot in the Guinness World Records book for this, but it wasn’t his first: in 2007 this man-of-many-talents created the worlds smallest broom – a nano-brush with bristles 30 billionth of a meter in diameter. Yeah! (Below is my very own nano-photo of an annoyed housekeeping dust mite trying to use waaay too small a broom.)

PS. If you still haven’t got your science fix for the day, check out The Naked Scientists whose Chris Smith explained all this to me in the first place. Cheers, Chris!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. magnus permalink
    January 16, 2010 8:04 am

    Hej A
    Atomslöjd går inte av för hackor. Det roliga är att man framställer cement med hjälp av nanoteknik – är inte det en paradox. Cement som romarna kände till har man i dag förfinat med nanoteknik. Jag som trodde cement var kalklera som man brände. Det var en parentes, vilket bra initiativ till blogg. Jag håller med dig, jag är säker på att konst och kultur rymmer kraft att förändra. Kör hårt, nu följer jag din blogg.
    Hej hopp

    • January 16, 2010 10:22 am

      Aaahhh…det förklarar ju varför vissa byggnadsprojekt i trädgården kan ta längre tid än man trott – J håller alltså på med nanoteknik därute bland jordgubbarna!

  2. January 19, 2010 3:11 am

    Åh, önskar man fick se den svarta i verkligheten. Undrar hur det är att vara i ett rum målat i den färgen? Mörkt, säkert.

    Kolla in den här förresten. Hemsk tysk expo-miljö, ändå så vansinnigt vacker:

    Den liksom bara står över allt runt omkring den och är tyst och elegant och one of a kind.

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