NPR logo

University Makes New Black from Tiny Carbon Tubes

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/18159641/18165392" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
University Makes New Black from Tiny Carbon Tubes

Research News

University Makes New Black from Tiny Carbon Tubes

University Makes New Black from Tiny Carbon Tubes

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/18159641/18165392" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Rice University has developed the world's darkest material, made from millions of tiny vertical tubes of carbon. The material resembles a bed of grass.

While it is not perfect, engineering professor Pulickel Ajayan, who helped lead the project, says it's "pretty dark." His substance approaches the elusive ideal black, which would absorb all colors of light and reflect none, and it's close to three times darker than the previous record-holder, nickel-phosphorous alloy.

The research will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Nano Letters.

Ajayan talks with Melissa Block.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.