Researchers at a US laboratory claim to have created the darkest material ever; a carbon nanotube which is one atom thick and rolled into a cylinder. For an object to be completely black, it must absorb all the colors of light over every angle and wavelength while reflecting none back, and scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, may have just gotten one step closer. The team built an array of vertically aligned, low-density nanotubes -- rough on the surface to minimize reflections -- and then measured the optical properties. They discovered that the objects very good at absorbing light, while downright rotten at reflecting it, thus creating a new standard for "blackness." In practice, their nanotubes could form a super-black object, leading to the creation of more efficient solar panels or solar cells, or more importantly, a Kuro
display that goes beyond
absolute black. "They've made the blackest material known to science," Says Professor Sir John Pendry, though Shaft's representatives have called for a recount.