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back to article US boffins create darkest material ever

US researchers announced yesterday they'd concocted the darkest material on the planet - a carbon nanotube substance so black it absorbs more than 99.9 per cent of light, Reuters reports. In fact, the stuff's so unrelentingly black it's "30 times darker than a carbon substance used by the US National Institute of Standards and …

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Black Helicopters

Coat a diamond with it...

...and you have the heart of a banking executive...

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Paris Hilton

Hmmm

a sphere made of this stuff could be interesting, especially when left out in the sun.

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Paris Hilton

New black

I thought brown was the new black! Or is it orange that's the new pink?

Fashion is sooooo confusing.

PH icon because she'd know whether you can wear ultra-black after Memorial Day or whatever.

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Anonymous Coward

Disappointed.

No picture?

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Silver badge

Stealth ?

As in night camo suits ? Just wondering, but if this is really that black, then being a nice gaping black hole under the moon is not exactly what I would call stealthy.

On the other hand, it could be a very good coating for weapons - keep moonshine or streetlight from gleaming on the barrels.

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Go

But do they make a decent cup of tea?

Nanotubes, nanotubes, is there anything these clever wee beasties can't do? I bet they even taste good, in a charcoaly kind of way.

Burp.

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Happy

"Blacker than a black cat in a coal cellar"

Or, as The Stranger in The Big Lebowski would have it, "darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonless prairie night".

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Coat

http://holderied.de/colors/

The really, really, really, black jacket please.

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Ash
Pirate

Duncan Hills Coffee?

"Blacker than the blackest black, times infinity."

What would an object with a total reflective index of 0 look like? Would you be able to see it? (Following on from JonB...)

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Anonymous Coward

Civilian Uses

How about covering a Lamborghini with it? What would that much material cost, and how much would some rich mid-life crisis victim (Jezza Clarkson) pay for "the blackest supercar ... in the world"? (You can just hear him saying it, can't you?) If they go on to show it absorbs radar frequencies too, it's both practical and fashionable.

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Gates Horns

But is it blacker

than the outlook of the markets at the moment

or the PMs mood when he realises his strength in the economy has been somewhat under mined recently

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Bronze badge
Alert

Re: Duncan Hills Coffee?

Yes, cos it's black, not invisible.

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Pirate

@Ash

"What would an object with a total reflective index of 0 look like? Would you be able to see it?"

That depends on how hot it was. It would have a black body radiation curve so if you warmed it up it would glow like anything else.

If it was at room temperature, I guess it would just look like a two-dimensional black shape unless you donned your infrared glasses.

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Anonymous Coward

Priest's Socks

Is it as black as priest's socks though? I read somewhere, i think it was in an article about priest's socks that priest's socks are blacker than any other type of socks.

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Alchemy

Didn't Blackadder and Baldrick also manage inadvertently to produce a new substance they named "black" while trying to turn coal into gold?

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Happy

Priest's Socks

It was in Father Ted.

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Anyone remember...

Archimedes Plutonium had a theory about the blackest of black boxes... Now we have something to test his craziness with :P

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Anonymous Coward

The goths now have their work cut out...

Wear a T-shirt made from this stuff and they'll look like candy ravers in comparison.

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Void

Would be freaky to sit in a room made from the stuff and switch on a light... would feel like floating in a void.

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Priests' socks

'Twas in an episode of Father Ted

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Forget Spinal Tap....

HotBlack Desiato has more money - he might be interested in this stuff for his next stunt ship!

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Black Helicopters

@Alchemy

I think you'll find that Percy invested some 'Green'.

Also, I think HotBlack Desiato beat Clarkson to the coolest blackest vehicle award. (See Douglas Adams)

Black Helicopter icon - what else.

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Green

Baldrick made a nugget of the purest green, IIRC.

Also, the stealth implications are more for aircraft and ships than for people. British camouflage has very little black, mainly greens and browns (for temperate climes at least). If the aircraft absorbs all the radiation and doesn't reflect any back, there's no way of picking it up on radar, much like the current stealth technology, where a big evil aircraft shows up about the size of a large bird.

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@Gareth - One of the funniest Blackadders out there...(IMO anyways)

Lord Percy Percy: I've done it, my Lord! I've discovered how to turn things into gold! Pure gold!

Blackadder: You have? Show me!

Lord Percy Percy: [takes lid off melting pot, and Baldrick, Percy and Blackadder are bathed in a green glow] Behold!

Blackadder: Percy... it's green.

Lord Percy Percy: Yes, my Lord!

Blackadder: Now, look, Percy, I don't mean to be pedantic or anything, but the color of gold... is gold. That's why it's called gold. What YOU have discovered, if it has a name, is some... Green.

Lord Percy Percy: [removes lump of Green from pot] Oh, Edmund... can it be true? That I hold here, in my mortal hand, a nugget of purest Green?

Blackadder: Yes indeed, Percy, except that it's not really a nugget but more of a splat.

Lord Percy: Yes, my Lord. A splat today, but tomorrow, who knows, or dares to dream...

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Coat

Corrections..

re: Coat A Diamond with it..

No. Banking executives have no heart.

re: Alchemy

No. What Lord Percy invented was 'purest green'.

re: The goths now have their work cut out...

No. They would have them too.

re: Void

No. It would 'look' like you were floating in a void - it would 'feel' like you were sitting on a floor.

Um, can anyone see where I put my coat?..

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Coat

Yes, it's very dark, isn't it? It's, er, almost... black

Yes. Black. Black. Black! Like the clouds of death that follow me into the Forest of Doom! And hide in the wardrobe of darkness! Black!

Black! Black!

Black! Black!

Black! Listen! Listen! Do you hear? The moon is weeping in a secret room! They tap at my window, with tiny poles!

Oh! Oh! The monks are troubled and full of woe! I'm a fly! Trapped in a jar of shadows!

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Priest's socks

Father Ted: That's right, Dougal. You see, ordinary shops sell what look like black socks, but if you look closely, you'll see that they're very, very, very, very, very, very, very dark blue.

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Anonymous Coward

Tufnel

Surprised no one has done this yet...

It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black.

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Go

Re: Void

Coating the inside of a small box with this stuff would create a cool 'bottomless pit in a box' effect as well.

also "It's the weird colour scheme that freaks me. Every time you try to operate one of these weird black controls, which are labeled in black on a black background, a small black light lights up black to let you know you've done it. Hey, what is this, some kind of galactic hyper-hearse?"

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@One of the funniest Blackadders out there

Indeed - "Money" is definitely the funniest Blackadder episode ever!

...bring on the flames.... I'm ready for you :-)

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Pirate

The future

The future is dark! The future is black!

This'd be great for an anarchist black flag... >:)

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Anonymous Coward

Bloody hell ...

you of all people should know not to use the word 'boffin'. I would expect it from a Medieval-History-graduate-turned-lazy-journo (or possibly from Paxman), but not from you. Stop it at once.

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Anonymous Coward

Photo here!

It was a challenge sneaking in for the pic, and I could only get a glimpse of a tiny spot, but here it is:-

.

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Stu
Alien

@JonB

I've located a JPG of it for you -

http://www.flickr.com/photos/95389999@N00/2196884119/

I did it myself in mspaint!

.

Anyway, I'd like to know how big they've managed to make this wonder material. I'm thinking maybe as big as two nano-metres! Kind of like how they make wigs?

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Tim

Carbon Nanotubes

Carbon Nanotubes are great...but being more expensive than gold and depositing them on surfaces in such a manner is generally a lab experiment rather than a production method I don't think this will be seen by the public for a long time.

Good news is since CNTs are so resistant to deformation the coating will last far longer than paint.

(P.S: Marky W, I'm sure they would taste terrible. Definately not worth the cancer you'd get from their carcinogenic properties)

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@Dr Jeep

ROFLMAO!!

Fast Show at its best.

They wait for me in the forest....

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Stephen

Ah, but is it blacker than "Peckinpah's Perfect Puddings - None Blacker" from The Goodies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Very dark, isn't it

"Yes. Black. Black. Black! Like the clouds of death that follow me into the Forest of Doom! And hide in the wardrobe of darkness! Black!"

Where are you sleeping tonight mother? FATHER'S GRAVE???

That guy was ace :-)

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Boffin

holes

Now, all we need is a way to make a portable hole... and I could carry a black hole in my pocket. Is this like that whole tea/no tea thing since a hole is the absence of matter? Could I fake it with a sphere of the stuff?

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Jobs Halo

Satan

will be soooo in lurv with these guys.

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Heart

but..but

Maybe I'm not understanding this, but I thought that the only reason we could visibally see things was due to the light reflecting off of it? Therefore, if something were to absorb all light, wouldn't we just... not... see it? Trying to figure this out is making my brain itch, inside

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Anonymous Coward

Why carcinogenic?

Is all carbon, and by extension, all things made from carbon carcinogenic then?

Must remember not to breathe out and infect my co-workers.

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Dan
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@Louis Cowan

You are right, you would not see much light coming back from an object coated with this, but you would see light coming back from whatever was around it so you would easily be able to see the outline. As someone mentioned above, it would look two-dimensional because ALL you can see is the outline so a sphere would look like a circle for example. A person's face coated in this and standing in profile would make a perfect living silhouette (not practical of course but interesting to think about). That said, the reflectivity of even this substance is 1/2000th or so, so I believe human eyes could still make out some detail under bright light (say sunlight) but indoors probably not.

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Anonymous Coward

@but..but

When it comes to objects that are black, what you actually see, is the absence of any reflected light i.e. you only see it, because other surrounding objects are reflecting light towards your eye - so anything that isn't, will still be a clearly defined shape. Or at least that's what my memory of school/college physics tells me.

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Spinal Tap

On a scale of 1 to 10 of blackness, it's an 11.

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Black No 1

I'd like a floormat made of this, that way people walking up to my house would think twice. On a nice bright sunny day, there is this 2 dimensional looking black.... no texture, no reflection... no contrast... just black.

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Coat

Darker than...

Hillary Clinton's heart?

Sorry couldn't resist :o)

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@Goth t-shirts

I've got a black t-shirt with black writing that states "I'm only wearing black until they invent something darker!"

Looks like my wish is coming true...

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Re: but..but

This is absolutly true Louis.

Therefore what you would be seeing when you looked at it would be the absence of any reflected light (this is why black is black), so you would still (rather easily) percieve it visually, if not actually see it in the most literal scientific sense of the word.

In essence what you would see is a patch of black amongst everything else around it.

It would certainly look (near as dammit) 2D, due to this, you certainly would not be able to see any surface detail unless in profile (so in a way these details are invisible).

Does this help?

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Coat

Frightening thought!!!!

If this absorbs so much light, could it in theory soak up all the light in the universe, thus rendering us an eternity in darkness, except for the dim glow of 0.045% of the remaining light.

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