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Nano Lett. 2008 Feb;8(2):446-51. doi: 10.1021/nl072369t. Epub 2008 Jan 9.

Experimental observation of an extremely dark material made by a low-density nanotube array.

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  • 1The Future Chips Constellation & Department of Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180, USA.


An ideal black material absorbs light perfectly at all angles and over all wavelengths. Here, we show that low-density vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays can be engineered to have an extremely low index of refraction, as predicted recently by theory [Garcia-Vidal, F. J.; Pitarke, J. M.; Pendry, J. B. Phys. Rev. Lett. 1997, 78, 4289-4292] and, combined with the nanoscale surface roughness of the arrays, can produce a near-perfect optical absorption material. An ultralow diffused reflectance of 1 x 10(-7) measured from such arrays is an order-of-magnitude lower compared to commercial low-reflectance standard carbon. The corresponding integrated total reflectance of 0.045% from the nanotube arrays is three times lower than the lowest-ever reported values of optical reflectance from any material, making it the darkest man-made material ever.

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