I came across an article recently written by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that discusses a discovery made by RPI – a material made from a loosely populated coating of carbon nanotubes that has a reflectance of 0.045. This is ground breaking – the current standard is 1.4%. Researchers have developed this material coating to facilitate better solar energy absorption, and this is a great thing considering that we need to develop some new technologies to overcome our addiction to oil. From the article:
â€œIt is a fascinating technology, and this discovery will allow us to increase the absorption efficiency of light as well as the overall radiation-to-electricity efficiency of solar energy conservation,â€ said Shawn-Yu Lin, professor of physics at Rensselaer and a member of the universityâ€™s Future Chips Constellation, who led the research project. â€œThe key to this discovery was finding how to create a long, extremely porous vertically aligned carbon nanotube array with certain surface randomness, therefore minimizing reflection and maximizing absorption simultaneously.â€
This is an excellent discovery on many levels. Outside of the uses for Solar Power Generation and increasing the amount of sunlight we can harness and utilize, a designer like myself has to consider the usage of such a material in the entertainment lighting arena as well – a material that reflects nearly no light almost makes lighting designers’ jokes about a “light sponge” for those spots on the stage or production where you don’t want light a reality. Imagine whole soft goods made of a coating of this material. Imagine scenic paint composed of this material. The possibilities are endless.
Check out the rest of RPI’s article here.