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Laser Turns All Metals Black 333

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at the University of Rochester have found a way to change the properties of almost any metal by using a femtosecond laser pulse. This ultra-intense laser blast creates true 'black metal' from copper, gold or zinc by forming nanostructures at the surface of the metal. As these nanostructures capture radiation, the metals turn black. And as the process needs surprisingly low power, it could soon be used for a variety of applications, such as stealth planes, black jewels or car paintings. But read more for additional references and a picture of this femtosecond laser system."
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Laser Turns All Metals Black

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  • anything special? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Loconut1389 ( 455297 ) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @09:41PM (#16969478)
    Does this black metal have any special properties aside from being black? The article mainly talks about other ways of making it black not being as good- is that all this really does?
  • Re:Blackness (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HazE_nMe ( 793041 ) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @10:39PM (#16969896) Homepage
    I think this would be nice for car exhaust pipes. If you use normal paint on anything that gets very hot, the paint burns up. This would be a nice alternative to paint for extremely hot applications.
  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @10:46PM (#16969938) Journal
    I never thought of it on the same plane before but radio wave (electromagnetic light waves) like what would be used in radar and such are a form of light waves. I guess the term "Black" meaning it absorbs light means it is invisible to radar, infrared and everything else that uses something from the light spectrum to operate. Thermal?.

    Now I see why the military might be interest in this. It isn't just an alternative to paint.
  • All metals huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by syousef ( 465911 ) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @11:02PM (#16970054) Journal
    "This ultra-intense laser blast creates true 'black metal' from copper, gold or zinc by forming nanostructures at the surface of the metal."

    Since when were there only 3 metals known to mankind? The summary blows.

    Then you look at the articles.

    "The key to creating black metal is an ultra-brief, ultra-intense beam of light called a femtosecond laser pulse. The laser burst lasts only a few quadrillionths of a second. To get a grasp of that kind of speed--a femtosecond is to a second what a second is to about 32 million years."


    "Currently, the process is slow. To alter a strip of metal the size of your little finger easily takes 30 minutes or more, but Guo is looking at how different burst lengths, different wavelengths, and different intensities affect metal's properties. Fortunately, despite the incredible intensity involved, the femtosecond laser can be powered by a simple wall outlet, meaning that when the process is refined, implementing it should be relatively simple."

    I'm guessing this has to do with etching an intricate structure. Perhaps also that the laser can only be fired at a given rate. None of this is explained at all well.
  • Solar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @11:09PM (#16970100) Journal
    So this could make for more efficient thermal solar panels.
  • by tetrahedrassface ( 675645 ) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @11:18PM (#16970158) Journal
    So i suppose I should be a little angry for my article submissions rejection this morning on this very subject. Maybe Roland is paying Slashdot to post his submissions, whatever the reasons, unlike Rolands little gem here mine did in fact note that the laser creates globules, pits and voids on the nanoscale level that dramatically increase the surface area of the treated metal.
    This technology has huge ramifications for chemical reactions that need a catalyst, and also in the area of fuel cells.

    Unlike Roland, I actually try to link to the article and not some empty blog. Roland, your technology trends suck. Link to the originating article you fool!

    Physorg [physorg.com]
    Also, does Roland even have a degree in science? Because he sure doesn't ever seem to have a grasp of the important things in the articles he submits.

  • Re:Applications (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Opie812 ( 582663 ) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @11:20PM (#16970178)
    This reminds me of something I've always wondered about stealth aircraft....you always hear about a stealth aircraft having the radar signature of a small bird. Well, if you're watching a radar screen and see a pigeon flying at 500 miles an hour wouldn't you think something odd was going on?

    Or maybe I'm just an idiot. That's always an option.
  • by zCyl ( 14362 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @04:29AM (#16971790)
    Touch it and the surface particles will rub off, leaving behind a shiny metal surface.

    You don't think maybe they would have tried that before reporting the results?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 24, 2006 @06:44AM (#16972616)
    It must be very hard for him to cut and paste digg.com submissions from two days ago [digg.com]

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly