By Patricia Daukantas
Despite all the history-making world and national news going on, optics made the front page of this morning’s Washington Post. An article by staff writer Rick Weiss highlights both the black-material research going on at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the “invisibility-cloak” metamaterials studies by several other teams of scientists.
Shawn-Yu Lin, a physics professor at RPI, and his colleagues recently created a thin material that absorbs more than 99.9 percent of incident light. Their research was published last month in the journal Nano Letters.
The RPI technique is different from the femtosecond-laser-ablation technique developed by Chunlei Guo and Anatoliy Vorobyev at the University of Rochester (see last week's blog post). Lin’s team used low-density arrays of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes to create the light-absorbing material.
I was amused to read Weiss’s metaphorical description of the blackest-black material as “a roach motel for photons—light checks in, but it never checks out.” The Post article goes on to describe recent research in the invisibility properties of metamaterials and quotes both OSA Fellow Vladimir Shalaev and 2007 CLEO/QELS plenary speaker Sir John Pendry.
2008-02 February, Miscellaneous Optics