University of Rochester researchers have discovered and demonstrated the power of tiny patterns, especially when etched by massively powerful lasers. The nano scale patterns have in this case been put to use producing darkness as well as attracting and repelling water. Patterns that produce the strangest and most spectacular side-effects.
The process developed by Chunlei Guo and his team requires no coating or special treatment of the surface, just put the metal in front of the Femto laser and fire away. The lasers extremely fast and intense bursts alter the metal itself, creating micro and nano sized patterns of structures deep into the metal.
The Black Metal pattern or treatment allows metal to absorb light extremely efficiently and produces an extremely deep black finish on the surface. Looking at the structures created in detail the team noticed their pattern creates massive internal surface area, which is exactly what you need to be a good absorber.
Other patterns have now been developed that make metal repel or attract water, the hydrophobic and hydrophilic patterns. Both of these patterns make the metals surface behave very strangely. The hydrophobic pattern makes water bounce off its surface while the hydrophilic pattern attracts water so well it will run up hill.
The laser etching process doesn’t just alter the surface either, its short sharp pulse (quadrillionth of a second) changes the metals structure deep under the surface, allowing for a little wear without losing the crazy properties.
Guo and his team are still working to perfect the process, an inch square of pattern currently takes an hour and uses immense amounts of power but the work continues in haste. Cooking with a non-stick pan that bunces food right out is just too excellent not to happen.
Video Via: Amara.org – Using Lasers to Create Super-hydrophobic Materials
Reference: Rochester.org – Ultra-Intense Laser Blast Creates True ‘Black Metal’
Reference: Rochester.org – Scientists Create Metal that Pumps Liquid Uphill