Under contract to NASA, NanoLab developed a number of coating processes for the production of very high absorbance optical blacks for stray light suppression. NanoLab offers two products to meet the needs of optical engineers:
NanoLab offers both coating services and the paint itself for those interested in applying the coating in their own facilities.
SingularityTM Black, What is it?
Singularity is a nanotube filled, solvent based paint that has exceptionally strong absorption in the visible, and is similar in performance to the vertically aligned arrays of nanotubes that are the blackest items known to man. Singularity has world class performance in the visible, NIR and IR (<1% reflectance from 250nm to 5 microns) exceeding the optical properties of other commercially available products like Acktar's metal velvet and Martin Black. Singularity's grazing angle performance is unmatched. Formulations are available for use as beam dump coatings,black body sources, etc.
SingularityTM Black, How is it applied?
The paint is solvent based, and requires application in a spray booth or fume hood, or with protective solvent vapor/particulate masks suited to the task. Brushing or air brush spraying are the recommended application techniques, but parts can also be dipped. Substrates and spray guns should be resistant to chemical attack from solvents such as MEK and THF. We find that a Badger 150 airbrush is well suited for small scale coating jobs. Coverage at ~10ml/in2 results in a thick coating that performs well in the IR and visible. Thinner coats may perform well in the visible. After spray application, a heating step is required to activate the coating. Once activated, it is a 'no-touch' surface. We offer a toughened version on request that can handle incidental contact.
The heating step includes a ramp up to 300C in air or in vacuum or inert gas, to decompose the low residue, environmentally friendly binder, which converts to CO2 and H2O. While fragile, singularity coatings can be field repaired with a brush and a heat gun.
In addition to these offerings, we have created applique' versions that let you 'wallpaper' the coating onto parts with low melting points that could not withstand our part coating process. We also offer a 'repair kit' for scratched optical components to restore black coatings to <1% reflectance in the visible.
SingularityTM Black, Coating Services
NanoLab provides coating services for your baffles, telescopes spars, and other optical parts. Your parts will be handled in a class 100 clean space to prevent particulate contamination during the coating process. Parts up to 9" diameter x 24" long can be masked and processed. All work is done domestically, by US citizens in an ITAR compliant facility.
Call us to discuss custom work (781) 609 2722 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
SingularityTM Black, What are its properties?
We have collected UV-VIS-NIR diffuse & spectral reflectance values BRDF data for this coating.We have a full compliment of scratch & adhesion test data, along with vibration tests and outgassing rates. SingularityTM Black has been tested for various flight qualifications:
✔ Pass 400 cleanliness specifications per Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST).
✔ Pass thermal cycling tests between -60 oC and 85 oC at a ramp rate of 10 - 20 oC/minute, per Ball Aerospace
✔ Pass NASA General Environmental Verification Specification (GEVS) and Delta IV rocket vibration tests
SingularityTM Black, DIY
For those interested in painting components themselves, we offer a Singularity School where students will learn application techniques, safety protocol, and tips and tricks to make the deepest blacks possible with Singularity. These courses can be held at NanoLab, or at your studio/facility. Contact us to learn more. We sell Singularity Black Ink in 4 sizes: 20ml, 250ml, 500ml and 1000ml. The 20ml starter kit is here:
Call (781) 609 2722 or email us at email@example.com to get a custom quote or to have us process your parts in our state of the art, cleanroom facility.
For the artist community that has been exploring ways to use the Singularity paint, we have additional offerings:
NanoLab thanks NASA for its support of the development of super-black coatings under a Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant titled “Nanostructured Super-Black Optical Materials” (S2.02-8177).