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Taken with a flash, this photo contrasts reflectivity and absorbtion of various materials. On the left is a circle of black paint, in the middle is the new darkest material, and on the right is a disk of carbon. With the flash, it is easy to see how much blacker than black paint the material really is.  (Source: National Geographic)
Specialized nanotubes set the record for the blackest material on Earth

Chalk up another valuable use of carbon nanotubes -- creating the darkest material on Earth.  Last month researchers at Rice College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York used the handy carbon molecular structures to set an unusual world record -- the record for the most light-absorbing material known to man.

The key to the technology is atom-thick nanotubes.  The tubes are arranged vertically on the surface, widely-spaced and standing on end, like the bristles of a paint brush.  The key is the spacing.  By widely spacing the tubes, light is able to enter the material, but then ends up trapped within the collection of thin tubes. 

Project leader and Rensselaer physics professor Shawn-Yu Lin explains, "The loosely packed forest of carbon nanotubes, which is full of nanoscale gaps and holes to collect and trap light, is what gives this material its unique properties.  Such a nanotube array not only reflects light weakly, but also absorbs light strongly. These combined features make it an ideal candidate for one day realizing a super black object."

To give an idea of exactly how black the result is, black paint reflects approximately 5 percent of the visible light that strikes it.  The previous darkest material was a nickel-phosphorous compound, which only reflected 0.35 percent of visible light.  The new nanotube compound blows away these previous competitors, reflecting a bare 0.045 percent of the visible light that hits it. This is almost nine times less than the previous record holder and over a hundred times less than black paint.

Scientist Richard Massey, a dark matter expert at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena calls the material "very clever", but warns the public not to confuse it with dark matter.  He explains that dark matter absorbs no light and somehow behaves as if transparent, allowing all light to pass through it.  He contrasts this with the new material which "absorbs all light without reemitting/reflecting any—hence no light reaches us from it, and it appears dark."

The work was featured in the journal Nano Letters.  The team also applied for a Guinness World Record for the blackest material.

The first possible business application considered by Rice and RPI was solar power.  Despite the recognition, though, the solar industry remains relatively lukewarm to the new material.  While a few companies such as SolFocus contacted the team, others like Marc Cortez, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Soliant Energy were skeptical about the technology.  Mr. Cortez stated doubts about whether the technology could make an impact, stating, "The ultimate challenge will be to take it from the lab into a high-volume manufacturing environment.  It’s only then you’ll know whether or not it will be a 'game-changing' technology."

With the solar power industry not warming up enough to the new technology, a new group has jumped in to court Rice and RPI -- the U.S. Military.   The Military, according to Popular Science, approached the researchers with interest in using the technology.  The Military, which is investigating a number of nanotube applications, expressed hopes for employing the technology to make its B-2 stealth bombers even stealthier.  By using the material, the B-2s would be capable of absorbing even more radar, making them more difficult to spot.  The military is excited about how the new material could revolutionize its stealth efforts, making its arsenal deadlier and more efficient than ever.

Meanwhile, Professor Yu-Lin is quick to remind people of the technology's more peaceful applications such as improving the efficiency of solar panels, which are typically coated in more reflective black paint.  Another valuable application, he believes is using the material to line telescope barrels to provide a darker background to provide less interference with the focused celestial light.

One thing's for sure, whether it be for war or for peace, someone is certain to be interested in a commercial application of this exciting new nanotube material.



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Makes sense
By masher2 (blog) on 2/22/2008 10:48:41 AM , Rating: 5
From a solar power perspective, the difference between absorbing 95% and 99.99% of all light is only a 5% increase in efficiency. But for stealth applications, its a 500X increase in performance.




RE: Makes sense
By AlphaVirus on 2/22/2008 11:05:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Military, which is investigating a number of nanotube applications, expressed hopes for employing the technology to make its B-2 stealth bombers even stealthier. By using the material, the B-2s would be capable of absorbing even more radar, making them more difficult to spot. The military is excited about how the new material could revolutionize its stealth efforts, making its arsenal deadlier and more efficient than ever.

Now THAT sounds cool. It actually sounds like they are getting closer to making Wonder Womands jet. If you can get the nanotubes to reflect 0 light then it would be cool to see a jet fly with this technology.

I wonder how long it would take to redesign the current B-2 with this new nanotube tech.


RE: Makes sense
By Polynikes on 2/22/2008 11:21:06 AM , Rating: 2
This would make for amazing camouflage. The reason you put on camo paint is to reduce the reflectiveness of your skin. Just imagine, at night, an enemy could shine a flashlight on you and not even know you were there, as long as it was fairly close to pitch black behind you.

Now all we need is a way to hide heat dissipation from infrared. :)


RE: Makes sense
By phattyboombatty on 2/22/2008 11:54:53 AM , Rating: 5
This material is great for radar stealth, but it is horrible for visual stealth. The idea of visual camouflage is to blend in with the surrounding background. Anyone covered in this super-black material would stand out really bad. They would be so much darker than their surroundings that they would be easily spotted.

I remember reading that the engineers who originally designed the US's stealth aircraft wanted to paint the planes a dark grey color, because that would be the hardest to spot in the night sky. However, the pentagon trumped them and chose to paint the stealth aircraft black because it looked better.


RE: Makes sense
By threepac3 on 2/22/2008 12:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
Good thing stealth bombers are usually flown at night.


RE: Makes sense
By 91TTZ on 2/22/2008 5:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I remember reading that the engineers who originally designed the US's stealth aircraft wanted to paint the planes a dark grey color, because that would be the hardest to spot in the night sky. However, the pentagon trumped them and chose to paint the stealth aircraft black because it looked better.


No, it was because they had to make a choice between visual stealth and radar stealth. The only stealthy (to radar) paint they had was black. Gray would be more visually stealthy, but the black paint was more stealthy to radar.


RE: Makes sense
By Integral9 on 2/25/2008 9:08:01 AM , Rating: 3
You're on track but I think the real reason is the first stealth planes were / are horrible in maneuverability. So to compensate, they fly at night and you can't shoot what you can't see and since both the sky and earth are black at night, you paint the plane black. The newer stealths, F-22 & F-23, are much better at maneuverability and could stand a chance in a dog fight. So they can fly during the day and are painted gray.


RE: Makes sense
By SlyNine on 2/23/2008 4:57:07 AM , Rating: 3
Its like the Military's version of Pimp My Ride.


RE: Makes sense
By CollegeTechGuy on 2/24/2008 2:02:52 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it could help infantry and other heat producing objects. Granted the black nanotubes on the outside would not be very good, but if they were somehow put on the inside of clothing then it could block more of the infrared produced. Basically not allowing infrared light from going past an infantries clothing or something.


RE: Makes sense
By masher2 (blog) on 2/24/2008 2:49:09 PM , Rating: 2
> "but if they were somehow put on the inside of clothing then it could block more of the infrared"

If you absorb infrared you absorb heat. Do that on the inside of clothing, and the heat then conducts to the outside, where its re-radiated as (you guessed it) infrared.

To block infrared emissions, you want the exact opposite -- a material that *reflects* as close to 100% as possible. Put that on the inside of clothing, and you'll prevent any infrared from escaping. Of course, such clothing would be extremely uncomfortable to wear anywhere but a very cold climate, but what's comfort compared to stealth, eh?


RE: Makes sense
By ShadowZERO on 2/25/2008 12:59:59 AM , Rating: 2
"To block infrared emissions, you want the exact opposite -- a material that *reflects* as close to 100% as possible. Put that on the inside of clothing, and you'll prevent any infrared from escaping."

Ok, I'm confused with this. You are saying to block infrared emmissions, you would have to block all heat from escaping your clothing? Wouldn't that be impossible, not just "uncomfortable", since your body relies on constantly producing heat to keep itself alive?

I think you would have to find an efficient way to make the surface of your clothing room temperature to make yourself invisible to infrared.


RE: Makes sense
By ShadowZERO on 2/25/2008 1:11:44 AM , Rating: 2
How about this: Design a lightweight and efficient cooling system to attach to your new blacker-than-night carbon nanotube suit. Rig a sensor to it, so that the surface of your suit stays whatever temperature your environment is. That way, you'll give off hardly any heat signal and also reflect almost no light.

Now thats my idea of stealth.


RE: Makes sense
By masher2 (blog) on 2/25/2008 10:36:48 AM , Rating: 3
> "Rig a sensor to it, so that the surface of your suit stays whatever temperature your environment is"

What you've described is thermodynamically equivalent to letting no heat escape from your body itself.

And yes, if you block *all* heat from escaping the body, you'll eventually die. Such a suit would be practical only for short periods...unless one assumes a technology high enough to build a "reservoir" inside it, capable of holding waste body for later disposal.


RE: Makes sense
By mattclary on 2/22/2008 11:59:54 AM , Rating: 5
Actually, camouflage breaks up patterns. In a forest, all the greens and browns blend in with the background and serve to break up the recognizable pattern of the human silhouette. Take that same guy in cammies and put him in an urban environment and the camouflage is way less effective. Now there are also urban camouflage patters than use blacks and greys that are much more effective in an urban setting.

As an aside: I was hunting with a buddy one time. While I was turned around to take a leak, he leaned against a tree to rest. When I turned around, it took me about 10-15 seconds to find him even though he was within 20 feet of me and in a very visible location.

Now, the main concern with seeing the B2 comes from radar. It's great if you can't see it in visible light, but missiles don't home on visible light. If the nanotubes can be tailored to absorb radar, and I think that is not an insignificant IF, then this will be awesome. Visible light is measurable in angstroms, thus nanotubes can readily absorb it. Radar is measurable from meters down to millimeters. Current radar absorptive tech relies on a honeycomb structure to serve the same purpose as these nanotubes, with longer wavelengths being compensated for by fuselage geometry.


RE: Makes sense
By clovell on 2/22/2008 2:07:03 PM , Rating: 5
>As an aside: I was hunting with a buddy one time. While I was turned around to take a leak, he leaned against a tree to rest. When I turned around, it took me about 10-15 seconds to find him even though he was within 20 feet of me and in a very visible location.

I know it's beside the point, but he wasn't wearing orange?


RE: Makes sense
By JSSheridan on 2/22/2008 4:48:04 PM , Rating: 3
You're assuming a lot. They could have been hunting turkey or it was a bow only deer season.


RE: Makes sense
By SlyNine on 2/23/2008 4:59:07 AM , Rating: 3
Becuase being shot with a bow is painless.


RE: Makes sense
By mattclary on 2/23/2008 11:27:42 AM , Rating: 4
I haven't been hunting in years, but 23 years ago when this happened, orange was not a requirement. We used to rely on not being stupid to avoid killing each other. ;)


RE: Makes sense
By Polynikes on 2/23/2008 10:29:29 AM , Rating: 2
Camouflage paint (which is what I was talking about, not camouflage uniforms) is meant to reduce the reflectiveness of your skin. I'm a former Marine infantryman. I know what different types of camouflage are meant to do.


RE: Makes sense
By mattclary on 2/23/2008 11:28:26 AM , Rating: 2
Then why didn't they just have you use black paint?


RE: Makes sense
By Zoomer on 2/24/2008 3:55:18 PM , Rating: 2
Because it will stand out more.

You apply green, then apply the black in a pattern that would make your face blend in with the environment.

Imagine a forest that is multicolored. Suddenly, you have a solid block of black. Doesn't that just call attention?


RE: Makes sense
By mattclary on 2/25/2008 9:36:40 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for clearing that up for me. Did you read the thread at all?


RE: Makes sense
By sweetsauce on 2/24/2008 4:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Current radar absorptive tech relies on a honeycomb structure to serve the same purpose as these nanotubes, with longer wavelengths being compensated for by fuselage geometry
I don't know much on stealth, so i was wondering to my self. Is this common knowledge or is this guy saying too much? Seems like something to keep quiet about.


RE: Makes sense
By stryfe on 2/23/2008 4:11:21 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
If you can get the nanotubes to reflect 0 light then it would be cool to see a jet fly with this technology.

Actually, if a jet reflected 0% of light then it wouldn't be all that cool to see it fly, you wouldn't see it at all.


RE: Makes sense
By SlyNine on 2/23/2008 5:03:57 AM , Rating: 2
Actually you would see its silhouette. Hard to miss a big black triangle in a blue sky.

Kind like those national guardsmen in camouflage green protecting the San Francisco bridge.

On that though. Since these things will fly at night and very very high the likely hood of anyone actually seeing it is simply to low to worry about it, and even if they did. Its too late.


RE: Makes sense
By Mitch101 on 2/22/2008 11:09:03 AM , Rating: 3
Is there a possibility of being too dark?

I recall some ships being so stealthy that they actually produce a hole on radar.

If the guy is hiding in the corner and the wall is almost pitch black but the outline of a dude is there is pitch black. Kind of reminds me of Quake 1 invisibility of the bloodshot eyeballs running around.


RE: Makes sense
By MMilitia on 2/22/2008 11:16:10 AM , Rating: 2
I'd be funny if someone invented a device which just detected the darkest thing in the sky or whatever.


RE: Makes sense
By Captain Orgazmo on 2/22/2008 8:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
Current anti-stealth radar technology aims to find spots in the sky most void of background radio noise, which means in the future stealth aircraft will have to use noise generators to mimic "empty" sky.

I have heard speculation that the Serbs used this technique to help shoot down a US stealth bomber during the NATO bombing of Serbia (they looked for spots on their radar scopes void of cell-phone generated radio noise and fired missiles indiscriminately at them - without guidance that is). Of course it helped that the cocky US mission planners let the stealths use the same infil/egress route every night.


RE: Makes sense
By jbartabas on 2/22/2008 2:14:05 PM , Rating: 2
As said before in a few comments, the goal of camouflage is to blend in. So you are absolutely right that it is possible to be too dark. This thing would make you 'invisible' only when it is pitch black all around. In most situation, you could get caught because of being too black ...


RE: Makes sense
By qwertyz on 2/22/2008 11:10:22 AM , Rating: 2
First thought just use it on LCD displays


RE: Makes sense
By qwertyz on 2/22/2008 11:20:33 AM , Rating: 1
Use it on LCD for deeper black levels better contrast ratio


RE: Makes sense
By masher2 (blog) on 2/22/2008 11:25:02 AM , Rating: 4
It would indeed make a beautiful black on an LCD monitor...making reds, greens, or blues would be rather difficult with this material however :p


RE: Makes sense
By phattyboombatty on 2/22/2008 11:56:11 AM , Rating: 5
A much more practical application is to use it as the masking material around a front projection screen.


RE: Makes sense
By qwertyz on 2/22/08, Rating: -1
RE: Makes sense
By masher2 (blog) on 2/22/2008 12:21:40 PM , Rating: 4
But an LCD that can display no color other than black wouldn't sell very well.

The problem with LCD blacks isn't finding a material that absorbs light, it's finding one that can selectively absorb or transmit it, according to the needs of the moment.


RE: Makes sense
By qwertyz on 2/22/08, Rating: -1
RE: Makes sense
By AlphaVirus on 2/22/2008 1:43:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Man you're so stupid that you don't even have a clue how LCDs work

Someone has been reading too much wikipedia, they think they know what the purpose of life is now.


RE: Makes sense
By masher2 (blog) on 2/22/2008 1:43:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but the liquid crystal layer does indeed transmit light. What's more, it's able to do so selectively...which is the entire key to the technology. The ability to block all, none, or any range in between.

Current LCDs can't block all light (which means blacks are really dark grey) and they can't transmit all light either (which means they must use a stronger light (and thus more power) to achieve a given brightness. But their ability to vary the amount of light passed through them is what allows them to display images.


RE: Makes sense
By nstott on 3/19/2008 3:03:55 AM , Rating: 2
It would be great for a black matrix material in LCD displays if using conductive or semi-conductive CNTs. This is necessary in part to block white light from the back light and absorb ambient room light from reflecting off the screen in the grid lines above the electrodes and in between the pixels, resulting in more vivid colors.

The processing conditions for the glass panel would have to be modified given that the high temperatures will burn carbon, and this is not a simple obstacle since other materials in the panel require those high processing temperatures. So, one would either have to develop other low-T processable materials for the other components or develop a CNT composite material that protects the carbon from combustion but that might also unfortunately absorb/block less light.


RE: Makes sense
By InsaneGain on 2/22/2008 12:14:49 PM , Rating: 4
LCD's rely on a material that selectively blocks light only when an electric current is applied. This material absorbs light whether there is an electric current present or not. So an LCD screen coated with this material would be excellent to display images of a starless and moonless night sky, but that is about it.


RE: Makes sense
By qwertyz on 2/22/08, Rating: -1
RE: Makes sense
By SlyNine on 2/23/2008 5:09:09 AM , Rating: 2
To make that claim, You must know alot more about LCD's then I do. Do you really think you know enough to make that claim ??


RE: Makes sense
By omnicronx on 2/22/2008 11:50:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
From a solar power perspective, the difference between absorbing 95% and 99.99% of all light is only a 5% increase in efficiency.
IT still should make a difference, how much light reflected is only half the story, the efficiency of converting the solar power to energy is still terrible. Seems to me, they need all the light they can get, even if it is only 5%. Best way to solve a problem, is to patch any holes in your theory first.


RE: Makes sense
By Amiga500 on 2/22/2008 11:57:47 AM , Rating: 2
But for stealth applications, its a 500X increase in performance.

Is it?

The effectiveness of RAM is closely coupled to the wavelength of the radar wave impacting it. RAM is usually effective against radarwaves.

Hopefully some numbers will make this clearer.

X and K band fire control radars operate at wavelengths between 4 and 0.5 cm. The attenuation of these waves is closely coupled to the thickness of the RAM coating - be it a 1/4 wavelength for destructive interference or the spacing of the iron balls to allow the radarwaves to get in between them and 'bounce around'. Light operates at around 0.0005cm, so scaling the nano-tech-surface up to even K and X band radars is an issue.

None of that addresses the real weakness of VLO aircraft - there is no such thing as VLO when the search radar has wavelengths of around 15cm - which is where alot of nextgen search radar technology is centred. Once the radarwave is of the same order of magnitude as a component (like a flap or aileron) on the aircraft) it is game over - no amount of RAM or shaping is going to make a blind bit of difference. After that, the only (current) avenue forward is active cancellation.

The USAF know (and even admitted) that the B-2, F-117, F-22 and F-35 are not, have never been, and will never be invisible in anyway shape or form to long wavelength S-band (and UHF) radar sets.


RE: Makes sense
By mattclary on 2/22/2008 12:06:35 PM , Rating: 3
Ahhhhh, I sense a background in aircraft? :) They might see you coming with the long range stuff, but good luck locking onto you! ;)

Former ECM guy for B-1B...


RE: Makes sense
By Amiga500 on 2/22/2008 2:16:22 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed, you are correct that radar lock on has traditionally been done using X-band radar, which is highly susceptible to both shaping and RAM. Hence radars of the F-15, F-16 etc being useless against the F-22.

LW radar doesn't have good resolution, but that is heavily dependent on radar back-end algorithms and the system's processing power - which frequenters of this site should know is continuing to advance very fast.

More short term, I see LW radar as a good way to localise the 'stealth' target, hoist a SAM into the area with a wider FOV IRST on the nose and see what happens. If I can see that as an obvious route to possible viable anti-stealth defense, you can be sure others that design said systems do to.


RE: Makes sense
By InsaneGain on 2/22/2008 5:25:59 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if the USAF is developing metamaterial cloaking technology that can bend EM energy around an object to defeat long wavelength radar.


RE: Makes sense
By masher2 (blog) on 2/22/2008 12:19:24 PM , Rating: 1
Not really my field, but from a "first principles" EM perspective, there's no reason absorption in the L-band can't be as effective as any other. Saying its "game over" just because the wavelength has increased just isn't correct; RAM materials will just have to be designed around different principles.

Also remember that increasing wavelength is a mixed bag. It lowers your spatial resolution, for one, and can cause penetration and interference issues.


RE: Makes sense
By jbartabas on 2/22/2008 1:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
I guess that he was referring to the issue of diffraction at the edge of the different elements of the aircraft. To make it simple, both the absorptivity due to sub-wavelength structure of the material and the larger scale geometry of the target are important. So you can probably design a material with a good potential absorptivity at L-band but the fact that a few different element of your aircraft are just a few wavelength large make the diffraction effect complicate the matter.

So to simplify, at large frequencies you care more about small scale roughness of your surface but you can assume each element of your aircraft to be facets of infinite size. At 20 cm wavelength, you are not so sensitive anymore to small irregularities, but some facets can't be seen as infinite anymore and the diffraction pattern will have to be accounted for. That may explain the difficulties at L-band.


RE: Makes sense
By InsaneGain on 2/22/2008 1:56:43 PM , Rating: 2
VLO aircraft primarily rely on geometry to control radar scattering. Absorbent materials are supplementary.
There are downsides to low band radar, but all they have to do is indicate something is coming from a general location, negating surprise, and then other types of sensors and interceptors can be vectored and focused on this region.


RE: Makes sense
By InsaneGain on 2/22/2008 1:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently the relatively large feature sizes on the B2 are still effective against the low band radar. So I would think a valid strategy to cripple the IAD system would be to first use B2's to destroy the large and imobile antennas of the low band radars.


RE: Makes sense
By Amiga500 on 2/23/2008 10:11:27 AM , Rating: 1
Possibly... Possibly.

However the USAF have pulled the B-2s off service twice IIRC (the first was really a delayed entry into service - hence the B-2A designation>) to try and improve RCS values for long wavelength radar. It is definitely something they worry a great deal about.


RE: Makes sense
By 3kliksphilip on 2/22/2008 12:02:20 PM , Rating: 2
Just remember not to use it in day time missions.

Surely being the blackest thing around is a bad thing, I mean, if you're hiding next to a black painted wall and a light is shone on you, surely you stand out far more than somebody with traditional gear? Only in dark environments would it benefit, but if it's dark then you won't be noticed in normal gear any way.


RE: Makes sense
By jbartabas on 2/22/2008 12:23:08 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get the point either with solar energy. Not only the increase in absorbed energy is marginal, but what's the point if the energy is not converted in current. As far as I understand, the material will just warm a tiny bit more.

As far as B-2 and radar are concerned, I don't get it either. The article tells us that now almost no visible light is reflected/scattered ... but nothing is said about microwaves. And according to the way they obtained the increased absorptivity (spacing of the structures), it sounds that performances are likely to be degraded (or at least modified) with large changes in wavelength like the one for going from visible to microwaves.

Not even mentioning that the more it absorbs in the visible, probably the more it re-emits in IR as long as it stays at local thermal equilibrium.

Besides all of that, the picture with the flash is pretty cool :-D


RE: Makes sense
By Optimizer on 2/22/2008 3:20:06 PM , Rating: 2
Please elaborate. How do you derive 500X?


RE: Makes sense
By jbartabas on 2/22/2008 3:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
He probably used (1-0.95)/(1-0.9999), when he could have actually used 5/0.045~100 or even 0.35/0.045~10.


RE: Makes sense
By Optimizer on 2/22/2008 3:47:23 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the refresher (though I'll admit you lost me on the last 2)!


RE: Makes sense
By jbartabas on 2/22/2008 3:56:06 PM , Rating: 2
The second one would be the increase using the actual value for the new material, i.e. 0.035 (Masher's value of 99.99% was a rounding as far as I can tell) and the last one would be the increase w/r to the previous best absorber known. All in order of magnitude (as the value are anyway accurate to a certain extent only that is not reported here).


nanos
By Sqeptik on 2/22/2008 1:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
Has anyone read about the environmental problems with free nano particles. They are so small they can only be filtered with great difficulty. They are already known to be appearing outside labs. Their impact when breathed in is still being researched.




RE: nanos
By straycat74 on 2/22/2008 2:23:55 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe you should get together with Al Gore and force the anti-industrial revolution on us all so we could go back to more a more natural existence. Then the planet could be saved by halving our lifespans and reduce the population. No thx, good night!


RE: nanos
By jbartabas on 2/22/2008 2:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, there are a few resources available there:
http://www.nsec.wisc.edu/NanoRisks/NS--NanoRisks.p...

But any potential effect should be something pretty hard to characterize, at least for the general population.


RE: nanos
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 2/23/2008 12:43:01 AM , Rating: 2
You received criticism from others, but I personally feel a need for more research into this too.

At one time, we encouraged asbestos to no end. It was the miracle material. CNTs and buckeyballs are todays miracle materials.

A year ago, I called for awareness into this field. Not because I want CNT development halted, but because I think if we understand the risks before plunging headlong into them, we (the scientific community) can pre-emptively counter the naysayers with logical, clearly defined studies.

http://www.dailytech.com/A+Call+for+Nanopollution+...

I strongly advise anyone involved in the field of CNT research to start the analysis now and do it in an honest and thorough manner.


RE: nanos
By masher2 (blog) on 2/23/2008 1:44:42 PM , Rating: 1
> "At one time, we encouraged asbestos to no end."

The asbestos scare is truly one of the more overstated scares in environmental history. The average person has millions of asbestos fibers in their lungs, all from natural sources. Many studies have shown low levels of asbestos exposure generate no increased risk of lung disease.

For asbestos miners who for decades were chronically exposed to asbestos levels millions of times higher, a risk exists. But even here, the risk was small, and almost always confined to patients who had some other aggravating factor (like tobacco smoke).

The asbestos scare has spawned the world's largest gravy train for trial lawyers, amounting to a $100+ billion dollar payout nearly all of which was for cases not actually caused by asbestos exposure.


RE: nanos
By Optimizer on 2/23/2008 9:57:22 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe for chrysotile asbestos but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the risks of amphibole asbestos such as tremolite found in Zonolite attic insulation.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/asbfaq.ht...
quote:
How do the risks from exposure to different kinds of asbestos differ?
Though chrysotile (white asbestos) has been used most widely, the greater potency of amphibole (blue and brown) asbestos to cause illness is generally recognised. Hodgson and Darnton in their scientific paper (2000) estimated the risk of mesothelioma and lung cancer by asbestos fibre type for a range of different exposure scenarios [2]. This analysis suggests that on average blue asbestos has a risk about 500 times that of white asbestos for mesothelioma and 10-50 times as high for lung cancer. The equivalent risk ratio for brown asbestos is 100 for mesothelioma and the same as blue (10-50) for lung cancer.


Once asbestos fibres are in your lungs, they are there permanently. Indeed, just because you have asbestos fibres in your lungs, it doesn't mean that you'll develop asbestos related diseases. Also, because it takes at least 10 years and in some cases up to 60 years) after first exposure to asbestos fibres for any asbestos related illness to develop, there's a good chance that you'll die for some other reason first.

quote:
Is there a safe level of exposure below which there is no risk?

Mesothelioma
There is a lack of scientific consensus as to whether there exists a threshold of exposure to asbestos below which a person is at zero risk of developing mesothelioma. However, there is evidence from epidemiological studies of asbestos exposed groups that any threshold for mesothelioma must be at a very low level – and it is fairly widely agreed that if a threshold does exists then it cannot currently be quantified. For practical purposes HSE does not assume that such a threshold exists.

Asbestosis and lung cancer
The situation for lung cancer and asbestosis is uncertain. Arguments for a threshold for lung cancer are based on the notion of the carcinogenic process being an extension of the chronic inflammatory processes producing fibrosis. It is generally recognised that heavy doses of white asbestos are required to produce clinically significant lung fibrosis. However, the situation for blue and brown asbestos is more uncertain and fibrosis has been observed at much lower exposures. This also suggests that if a threshold for lung cancer does exist for blue and brown asbestos it must be at a very low level indeed.


Whatever the statistics say, I am not so quick dismiss it as a low probability risk while looking into the eyes of my 3 year old.


RE: nanos
By masher2 (blog) on 2/23/2008 11:33:33 PM , Rating: 2
> "I am not so quick dismiss it as a low probability risk while looking into the eyes of my 3 year old. "

Would you let your family live in Monterey County, California...or any of the other several places around the world where naturally occurring asbestos is in the air, at levels far higher than one would ever receive from ceiling tiles?

Would you feed your child a Happy Meal? The increased risk of cancer from one hamburger a week (due to the higher-fat diet) is much greater than the excess risk of mesothelioma from exposure to the levels of asbestos one would see from any non-occupational exposure.

Asbestos is a risk to occupational workers -- people who are constantly exposed, particularly when the material is being mined or processed, and thus releases large amounts of dust. For the rest of us, the risk is simply vastly overstated.


Sigh...
By isorfir on 2/22/2008 11:34:46 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
the record for the most light-absorbing material known the man


Great, now it's going to be even harder to stick it to the man.




RE: Sigh...
By pauluskc on 2/22/2008 11:56:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
a commercial application of this excit ed new nanotube material


I hear ya, the porn industry really doesn't need excited cloth with John Holmes already in the mix.


RE: Sigh...
By isorfir on 2/22/2008 12:20:02 PM , Rating: 2
Aww, they fixed it :(


RE: Sigh...
By stromgald on 2/24/2008 3:38:12 AM , Rating: 2
Another typo . . . Rice College? It's Rice University. Get the name right. I know its seems nitpicking, but nobody says Ohio College for OSU or Stanford College for Stanford Univeristy.

If it wasn't a school of 3000 students there probably would've been more people that noticed it.


As predicted in Spinal Tap
By thesafetyisoff on 2/22/2008 2:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
"The question becomes, How much blacker can it get? And the answer is... None."

Well, .045%, but that's pretty close to none.

Can't wait to paint my living room with this stuff, for that outer-space effect.




RE: As predicted in Spinal Tap
By Oobu on 2/23/2008 2:18:22 AM , Rating: 2
I couldn't imagine how much painting a room entirely in carbon nanotubes would cost. My guess is that it would be extremely expensive, as this technology is fairly new. I don't know about the living room, but I'd paint my bedroom.


RE: As predicted in Spinal Tap
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 2/23/2008 2:44:46 AM , Rating: 2
The cost is coming down dramatically. 3M has commercial grade CNTs available today for mere dollars per ounce. Of course, alignment and length add considerable expense.


RE: As predicted in Spinal Tap
By SlyNine on 2/23/2008 5:18:22 AM , Rating: 2
You mean I can't just use my roller brush and a magnet


It's like, how much more black could this be?
By leonowski on 2/22/2008 10:50:46 AM , Rating: 2
By KernD on 2/22/2008 11:18:10 AM , Rating: 2
Spinal Tap! realy funny... just like the Metallica black album come to think of it.


By InsaneGain on 2/22/2008 12:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
Haha good reference. This article's picture should be Nigel looking at their new black album cover.


nanos
By Sqeptik on 2/22/2008 2:56:14 PM , Rating: 2
On the contrary. I embrace technological advancement but believe in caution especially when involving progress that is not properly understood.
I happen to believe that global warming is occurring but that only a very small portion of that can be attributed to human development. On the other hand a more reasonable consumption of resources is not such a bad thing.
A basic scan of Wikipedia would give you a better understanding of potential nanoparticle problems and there are further articles from reputable non-Green biased scientific journals.
As for the military application of nanotechnology remember that in Europe they are still cleaning up after World War One and that is just getting rid of chunks of metal. Imagine trying to clean up free nanoparticles!




RE: nanos
By werepossum on 2/22/2008 7:41:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A basic scan of Wikipedia would give you a better understanding of potential nanoparticle problems and there are further articles from reputable non-Green biased scientific journals.


A basic scan of Wikipedia should convince you that in general, people are idiots. Still, I generally agree with your caution statement, but would point out that nano-scale particles occur naturally as well. It's just we're only now beginning to be able to work on that scale.


RE: nanos
By Sqeptik on 2/22/2008 9:00:40 PM , Rating: 2
I've learned to be a critical reader :) Both the Wiki articles I read were well referenced and reasonably neutral. Articles that have shown up in past periodicals tended to be a bit alarmist.
Thanks for the info regarding naturally existing particles. I didn't know that. A quick surf turned up some reasons why they are probably not too worrisome (maybe). I think my first 'alarm' related to an article about manufactured carbon nano particles.
Life is a learning experience. I try to keep an open mind.


Black Hole?
By DRMichael on 2/22/2008 11:30:31 AM , Rating: 5
Would this be considered a Black Hole without Gravity?




Am I the only one...
By Archonis on 2/22/2008 11:57:11 AM , Rating: 2
that thinks that screenshot of MGS4 is awesomely appropriate for this article?




RE: Am I the only one...
By FITCamaro on 2/22/2008 12:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
I am I the only one that thinks Snake is grabbing that guys nuts? Is that the new special move for Snake? The Nut Crusher?


Forget Stealth
By SavagePotato on 2/22/2008 6:47:19 PM , Rating: 2
Forget the stealth or solar applications, I'm thinking of the potential goth applications.

Somewhere out there is a angst ridden 16 year old that would be celebrating in joy (if he was capable of feeling joy or celebrating) at the upcoming chance to express the true blackness of his soul. Actually he is probably just writing a poem about it right now.

Get this stuff in lipstick too and the future is bright, or rather dark (wink wink nudge nudge) for goths everywhere.




RE: Forget Stealth
By werepossum on 2/22/2008 7:13:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Forget the stealth or solar applications, I'm thinking of the potential goth applications.

Somewhere out there is a angst ridden 16 year old that would be celebrating in joy (if he was capable of feeling joy or celebrating) at the upcoming chance to express the true blackness of his soul. Actually he is probably just writing a poem about it right now.

Get this stuff in lipstick too and the future is bright, or rather dark (wink wink nudge nudge) for goths everywhere.


LMAO! I've two goth grandchildren so this struck me as hilarious because it's so true. Actually they're pretty normal and not particularly angst-ridden except for the anime they watch, but definitely goth, and they would definitely buy something billed as the blackest material on earth.

As to being too dark, most non-stealthy black helicopters (quick! get your tin-foil hats!) are actually very dark gray or green, because an actual flat black is more noticeable. Very few surfaces in nature reflect no light, but if you can use this against a particular threat radar then the slight reduction in visual stealth is worth it, as I belive someone pointed out earlier. Also, if I remember correctly the Russians and the Germans can detect stealth aircraft using the hole produced in cell phone tower signals and some advanced processing algorithyms.


It may be the blackest.....
By monitorjbl on 2/22/2008 11:37:48 AM , Rating: 3
But is it the most brutal?




By mattclary on 2/22/2008 12:08:13 PM , Rating: 3
eom...




But does it pass PLUGE?
By Capsaicin on 2/22/2008 11:32:22 AM , Rating: 2
And when will they make LCDs out of it?




Next Step...
By Xenoterranos on 2/22/2008 11:56:22 AM , Rating: 2
Now all they have to do is paint a spaceship with it and crash it into the sun during the loudest rock concert in the universe.

They'll probably have to spend a year dead due to tax purposes just to pay the thing off.




Stealthier
By AlmostExAMD on 2/22/2008 9:54:51 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, Just on a side note, Does this new Stealth technology wash off in rain too, LOL!




Put on my Klök
By elpresidente2075 on 2/23/2008 3:29:20 AM , Rating: 2
It would be blacker than the blackest black, times infinity!




By Symmetriad on 2/25/2008 10:43:47 AM , Rating: 2
'CAUSE IT'S BLACK Y'ALL!
AND IT'S BLACK Y'ALL!
AND IT'S BLACKER THAN BLACK AND IT'S BLACK Y'ALL!




Next up for carbon nanotubes
By FITCamaro on 2/22/08, Rating: -1
RE: Next up for carbon nanotubes
By mattclary on 2/22/2008 1:25:14 PM , Rating: 2
You need nanoparticles for that?


RE: Next up for carbon nanotubes
By jbartabas on 2/22/2008 2:09:59 PM , Rating: 2
Did you mean hadron?


"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)














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