Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Extreme Darkness: Carbon Nanotube Forest Covers NIST’s Ultra-dark Detector

Colorized micrograph of the world's darkest material—a sparse "forest" of fine carbon nanotubes — coating a NIST laser power detector. Image shows a region approximately 25 micrometers across.

Credit: Aric Sanders/NIST
Colorized micrograph of the world's darkest material—a sparse "forest" of fine carbon nanotubes — coating a NIST laser power detector. Image shows a region approximately 25 micrometers across.

Credit: Aric Sanders/NIST

Abstract:
Harnessing darkness for practical use, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a laser power detector coated with the world's darkest material—a forest of carbon nanotubes that reflects almost no light across the visible and part of the infrared spectrum.

Extreme Darkness: Carbon Nanotube Forest Covers NIST’s Ultra-dark Detector

Gaithersburg, MD | Posted on August 20th, 2010

NIST will use the new ultra-dark detector, described in a new paper in Nano Letters,* to make precision laser power measurements for advanced technologies such as optical communications, laser-based manufacturing, solar energy conversion, and industrial and satellite-borne sensors.

Inspired by a 2008 paper by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) on "the darkest man-made material ever,"** the NIST team used a sparse array of fine nanotubes as a coating for a thermal detector, a device used to measure laser power. A co-author at Stony Brook University in New York grew the nanotube coating. The coating absorbs laser light and converts it to heat, which is registered in pyroelectric material (lithium tantalate in this case). The rise in temperature generates a current, which is measured to determine the power of the laser. The blacker the coating, the more efficiently it absorbs light instead of reflecting it, and the more accurate the measurements.

The new NIST detector uniformly reflects less than 0.1 percent of light at wavelengths from deep violet at 400 nanometers (nm) to near infrared at 4 micrometers (μm) and less than 1 percent of light in the infrared spectrum from 4 to 14 μm. The results are similar to those reported for the RPI material and in a 2009 paper by a Japanese group. The NIST work is unique in that the nanotubes were grown on pyroelectric material, whereas the other groups grew them on silicon. NIST researchers plan to extend the calibrated operating range of their device to 50 or even 100 micrometer wavelengths, to perhaps provide a standard for terahertz radiation power.

NIST previously made detector coatings from a variety of materials, including flat nanotube mats. The new coating is a vertical forest of multiwalled nanotubes, each less than 10 nanometers in diameter and about 160 micrometers long. The deep hollows may help trap light, and the random pattern diffuses any reflected light in various directions. Measuring how much light was reflected across a broad spectrum was technically demanding; the NIST team spent hundreds of hours using five different methods to measure the vanishingly low reflectance with adequate precision. Three of the five methods involved comparisons of the nanotube-coated detector to a calibrated standard.

Carbon nanotubes offer ideal properties for thermal detector coatings, in part because they are efficient heat conductors. Nickel phosphorous, for example, reflects less light at some wavelengths, but does not conduct heat as well. The new carbon nanotube materials also are darker than NIST's various Standard Reference Materials for black color developed years ago to calibrate instruments.

* J. Lehman, A. Sanders, L. Hanssen, B. Wilthan and J. Zeng. 2010. A Very Black Infrared Detector from Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes and Electric-field Poling of Lithium Tantalate. Nano Letters. Posted online Aug. 3, 2010.

** Z.P. Yang, L. Ci, J.A. Bur, S.Y. Lin and P.M. Ajayan. Experimental observation of an extremely dark material made by a low-density nanotube array. Nano Letters. Vol. 8, No. 2, 446-451.

####

About NIST
NIST, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, was founded in 1901 as the nation's first federal physical science research laboratory. Over the years, the scientists and technical staff at NIST have made solid contributions to image processing, DNA diagnostic "chips," smoke detectors, and automated error-correcting software for machine tools. Just a few of the other areas in which NIST has had major impact include atomic clocks, X-ray standards for mammography, scanning tunneling microscopy, pollution-control technology, and high-speed dental drills.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Laura Ost
303-497-4880

Copyright © NIST

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future: They have probably succeeded in creating a topological superconductor February 19th, 2018

Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road February 16th, 2018

European & Korean Project To Demo World’s First 5G Platform During Winter Games February 15th, 2018

Laboratories

Atomic Flaws Create Surprising, High-Efficiency UV LED Materials: Subtle surface defects increase UV light emission in greener, more cost-effective LED and catalyst materials February 8th, 2018

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors January 20th, 2018

Laboratory Management Web Application Goes Nationwide January 9th, 2018

NRL improves optical efficiency in nanophotonic devices January 4th, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Arrowhead Receives Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1/2 Study of ARO-HBV for Treatment of Hepatitis B February 15th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Receives Orphan Drug Designation for ARO-AAT February 15th, 2018

Rutgers-Led Innovation Could Spur Faster, Cheaper, Nano-Based Manufacturing: Scalable and cost-effective manufacturing of thin film devices February 14th, 2018

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

Nanotube fibers in a jiffy: Rice University lab makes short nanotube samples by hand to dramatically cut production time January 11th, 2018

Touchy nanotubes work better when clean: Rice, Swansea scientists show that decontaminating nanotubes can simplify nanoscale devices January 4th, 2018

Paving the way for a non-electric battery to store solar energy: UMass Amherst scientists say a polymer chain organized like a string of Christmas lights assists energy storage December 22nd, 2017

Nanotubes go with the flow to penetrate brain tissue: Rice University scientists, engineers develop microfluidic devices, microelectrodes for gentle implantation December 19th, 2017

Discoveries

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future: They have probably succeeded in creating a topological superconductor February 19th, 2018

Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road February 16th, 2018

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers February 15th, 2018

Announcements

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future: They have probably succeeded in creating a topological superconductor February 19th, 2018

Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road February 16th, 2018

European & Korean Project To Demo World’s First 5G Platform During Winter Games February 15th, 2018

Tools

New method enables high-resolution measurements of magnetism February 7th, 2018

Nanometrics Selected for Fab-Wide Process Control Metrology by Domestic China 3D-NAND Manufacturer: Latest Fab Win Includes Comprehensive Suite for Substrate, Thin Film and Critical Dimension Metrology February 7th, 2018

A new radiation detector made from graphene: A new bolometer exploits the thermoelectric properties of graphene February 6th, 2018

Measuring the temperature of two-dimensional materials at the atomic level February 3rd, 2018

Aerospace/Space

Joseph N. Pelton named 2017 Lifeboat Foundation Guardian Award Winner February 1st, 2018

New research yields super-strong aluminum alloy January 25th, 2018

Nanotube fibers in a jiffy: Rice University lab makes short nanotube samples by hand to dramatically cut production time January 11th, 2018

Teachers in Space, Inc. wins Dream Project contest January 9th, 2018

Industrial

Ultra-efficient removal of carbon monoxide using gold nanoparticles on a molecular support: New method and mechanism for state-of-the-art gas purification February 9th, 2018

A simple new approach to plastic solar cells: Osaka University researchers intelligently design new highly efficient organic solar cells based on amorphous electronic materials with potential for easy printing January 28th, 2018

Nature paper by Schlumberger researchers used photothermal based nanoscale IR spectroscopy to analyze heterogeneous process of petroleum generation January 23rd, 2018

New filters could enable manufacturers to perform highly-selective chemical separation January 23rd, 2018

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road February 16th, 2018

Rutgers-Led Innovation Could Spur Faster, Cheaper, Nano-Based Manufacturing: Scalable and cost-effective manufacturing of thin film devices February 14th, 2018

Understanding brain functions using upconversion nanoparticles: Researchers can now send light deep into the brain to study neural activities February 14th, 2018

Graphene on toast, anyone? Rice University scientists create patterned graphene onto food, paper, cloth, cardboard February 13th, 2018

Solar/Photovoltaic

A simple new approach to plastic solar cells: Osaka University researchers intelligently design new highly efficient organic solar cells based on amorphous electronic materials with potential for easy printing January 28th, 2018

Tweaking quantum dots powers-up double-pane solar windows: Engineered quantum dots could bring down the cost of solar electricity January 2nd, 2018

Record high photoconductivity for new metal-organic framework material December 15th, 2017

Inorganic-organic halide perovskites for new photovoltaic technology November 6th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project