Scientists create darkest material

Jan. 14, 2008 at 3:32 PM

HOUSTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A scientist at a Houston university has created the darkest known material -- about four times darker than the previous record holder.

Pulickel Ajayan, a professor of engineering at Rice University, created a carpet of carbon nanotubes that reflects 0.045 percent light, making it 100 times darker than a black-painted Corvette, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday.

"The final numbers, when we measured how dark this material was, were more dramatic than we thought," Ajayan said.

Ajayan said the material, which has been submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records, may have some practical applications. He said the material's ability to absorb light could be beneficial to solar panels and it also minimizes the scattering of light, making it a potential boon to telescope manufacturers.

The previous darkest known material, a nickel and phosphorus alloy created by scientists in London, reflected about 0.16 percent of light.

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