Friday, February 22, 2008

~ into the abyss

Yesterday, in The Age, there was a brief article about a new material that is blacker than anything on this Earth. It is paper thin, composed of carbon nanotubes and absorbs 99.955% of any light that shines on it.

It is ‘about thirty times as dark as the US government’s current standard for blackest black’, two hundred times darker than normal black paint, and ‘more than three times darker than the nickel-phosphorous alloy that now holds the record as the world's darkest material’. It is ‘by far the darkest substance ever made’.

‘It can give those who gaze at a dizzying sensation of nothingness.’

I do not find it hard imagining this sensation. It would be accompanied by a darkening of the peripheral vision, and an irresistible urge to go deeper. An impression of falling, slowly at first, then faster. The consciousness dims, folded into darkness, and one becomes aware of an abiding spirit in the nothingness. A black urgency without sentience, a mindless presence with an infinite thirst …

The abyss, at last, staring back.

The researcher responsible, Pulickel Ajayan, was also involved in the creation of a paper battery and the world’s smallest brush.

The material is expected to have military applications. Visualise the approach of your enemy, blacker than pitch, a shadow against shadows that draws the eye, captures the mind, bewitches the spirit.

Will they one day make a material that absorbs all light? Or is perfect black an absolute that may not be possible to achieve, like zero degrees Kelvin? Black holes absorb all light but, wreathed in Hawking radiation, they are possibly not black at all.

Perhaps we best pray that they do not. Such a thing, if viewed, may lure the soul into a dark and everlasting embrace.

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Anonymous said...

the mind boggles at something of such profound darkness...would it be like sleep or death...
love always...

Matt said...

I'm reminded of a quote by the great philosopher Nigel Tufnel:
"How much more black could it be? And the answer is none. None more black."

lily was here said...

Drawn to the black, or drawn to the light - good vs evil, heaven vs hell?

dysthymiac said...

"200 times blacker than normal black paint"

I have been waiting for this colour so I could paint the heart of the one who broke his oath to me.