Friday, November 24, 2006

It's about to get a lot darker in the world...

Thanks to the research of an assistant professor of optics at the University of Rochester (NY), blasting metals with lasers for extremely brief periods of time has yielded highly light-absorbing characteristics.

Black gold? An end to anodizing? The article seems to be saying that the properties are permanent, but I wonder how long the "nanostructures—pits, globules, and strands that both dramatically increase the area of the surface and capture radiation" will last when absorbing radiation so efficiently.

5 comments:

Bike Bubba said...

It turns out that gold is one of the most "migration-prone" metals of all--yes, when we put nano-scale features there in gold, you are entirely correct that exposing it to energy for a period of time may result in the elimination of those features.

Not to mention that the inherent malleability of gold would tend to result in any mechanical stress (rubbing) eliminating this feature as well. To argue that this process on an expensive metal will eliminate anodizing on cheap metal is...well, an argument worthy of someone not knowing Econ 101.

Marklark said...

Of course, applied to something tought like Titanium, maybe we get something both dark and durable.

Bike Bubba said...

Yes, but titanium oxidizes as well to form just such a substance. Why bother?

Marklark said...

TiO2 absorbs a wide range of the EM spectrum?

According to Wikipedia, it is white and makes an excellent reflector when used in thin films. Good for sun blocks, etc.

Not quite what you'd want to put on your stealth equipment...

Bike Bubba said...

OK, but the fact still remains that it's puzzling to consider what uses of titanium could be enhanced by this process. Anything that requires the hardness and wear featured by titanium isn't exactly going to be enhanced by putting a bazillion holes in it and making its surface into a sponge.