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

Zu-Po Yang, Lijie Ci, James A. Bur, Shawn Yu Lin*, Pulickel M. Ajayan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

537 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 × 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-451
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2008

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