A new ultrablack coating on telescopes could reveal more of the universe

Space telescopes can give their old coatings an even more mysterious look, helping them blend into the dark void of space and capture great images of the universe.

A team of researchers from the University of Shanghai has developed an ultra-black thin film for magnesium alloys, a casting material made for telescopes. and optical instruments that absorb almost all light and are durable enough to survive the harsh environment of space.

As a recent detail study Published in Journal of Science and Technology A, The researchers used a manufacturing technique called “atomic layer deposition,” in which a target is placed in a vacuum chamber and exposed to specific temperatures. Types of gas.

To create the ultra-black coating, the team used alternating layers of aluminum-doped titanium carbide (TiAlC), an absorbent layer, and silicon nitride (SiO2). Combined, the pair blocks almost all light from entering. reflected on the coated surface. During testing, the ultra-black coating absorbed 99.3% of light across a wide range of wavelengths, according to the study.

Existing telescopes are coated with an improved aluminum coating reflect 92 to 95% of light. It's close to reflecting almost all light, but it's not there yet.

Photograph: Jin et al.

The black layer, on the other hand, is perfect for absorbing light. However, it is often too fragile to survive in space. Many coating methods make it difficult to apply the coating inside a pipe or other complex structures,” said Yunchen Gao, a professor at the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and co-author of the new study. Declaration.

Thanks to its manufacturing technique, the newly developed ultra-black coating can be used on complex surfaces such as cylinders, pillars and trenches. “It is important for their use in optical devices because they often have significant curves or complex shapes,” Gao added. “It exhibits excellent stability in harsh environments and is durable enough to withstand friction, heat, wet conditions, and extreme temperature changes.”

Researchers hope to improve the performance of space telescopes, feed us even more fascinating images of the universe, improve the ultrablack coating, and further improve its light-absorbing capabilities.

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