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Penemuan Bahan Super Gelap

Kolaborasi riset Profesor Brian L. Wardle, ahli aeronotika dan astronotika pada Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) di Amerika Serikat dan koleganya di MIT serta Diemut Strebe, berhasil membuat bahan material paling gelap (blackest black material) dari bahan nanotub-nanotube karbon; lapisan material baru itu mencapai 10 kali lebih gelap dari bahan-bahan material gelap selama ini. Hasil riset dan penemuan ini telah dirilis oleh jurnal ACS-Applied Materials and Interfaces edisi September 2019.

“There are optical and space science applications for very black materials, and of course, artists have been interested in black, going back well before the Renaissance. Our material is 10 times blacker than anything that's ever been reported, but I think the blackest black is a constantly moving target. Someone will find a blacker material, and eventually we'll understand all the underlying mechanisms, and will be able to properly engineer the ultimate black,” papar Profesor Brian Wardle. (Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office, 12/9/2019).

Profesor Brian L. Wardle menambahkan, “Our group does not usually focus on optical properties of materials, but this work was going on at the same time as our art-science collaborations with Diemut, so art influenced science in this case. CNT forests of different varieties are known to be extremely black, but there is a lack of mechanistic understanding as to why this material is the blackest. That needs further study,” (Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office, 12/9/2019).

Bahan paling gelap itu dibuat oleh tim peneliti dari nanotube karbon yang dirakit secara vertikal atau NCTs – filamen-filamen mikroskopis karbon; bahan material ini dikembangkan oleh tim peneliti pada satu permukaan aluminium foil yang diracik dengan chlorine. Foil menyerap lebih dari 99,96 persen cahaya masuk, sehingga material itu super gelap. Hasilnya antara lain karya seni fitur-fitur berlian kuning alamiah 16,78 karat seharga 2 (dua) juta dollar AS; berlian itu dilapisi oleh bahan CNT super-hitam baru—permata cemerlang super-hitam dan datar. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 13/9/2019).

“This etching process is common for many metals. For instance, ships suffer from corrosion of chlorine-based ocean water. Now we're using this process to our advantage. I remember noticing how black it was before growing carbon nanotubes on it, and then after growth, it looked even darker. So I thought I should measure the optical reflectance of the sample,” ungkap Profesor Kehang Cui, PhD, co-author karya ilmiah ini. (Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office, 12/9/2019). Profesor Kehang Cui kini mengajar Shanghai Jiao Tong University, universitas dengan fokus riset yang didirikan tahun 1896 di Shanghai, Tiongkok; Kehang Cui, PhD, juga adalah mantan mahasiswa post-doctoral pada MIT di Amerika Serikat.

Diemut Strebe, Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residence pada MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, Profesor Brian L. Wardle serta Nano-Engineered Composire aerospace Structues (NECST) Consortium selama ini berupaya menerapkan riset baru berupa rekayasa bahan-bahan material dan struktur karya-seni dari hasil sinergi sains dan engineering. Sejauh ini, Strebe telah berkolaborasi dengan beberapa fakultas pada MIT, termasuk Noam Chomsky dan Robert Langer pada Sugababe (2014), Litmus (2014) dan Yeast Expression (2015); Seth Lloyd dan  Dirk Englund pada Wigner’s Friends (2014); Alan Guth pada Plötzlich (2017); dan peneliti pada Lab William Tisdale pada The Origin of the Works of Art (2017).

Oleh: Servas Pandur