Researchers at the University of Rochester are using laser light technology to help the US military create new forms of metal that guide, attract and repel liquids as well as cooling small electronic devices.
Using intense bursts of laser light, Dr Chunlei Guo and his team have managed to transform a shiny piece of metal into one that is pitch black and absorbs all radiation.
The team examined the reverse process of light absorption to turn an ordinary incandescent bulb into one that glows twice as brightly as a regular light source while consuming the same amount of energy.
"With the creation of the black metal, an entirely new class of material becomes available to us, which may open up a whole new horizon for various applications," commented Dr Guo.
The metal can help to cool an aeroplane's electronic brain and heat pumps by affecting the way liquid molecules bond with its own.
Researchers at the Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate recently unveiled a conductive ink that can be used to make printed organic photovoltaic solar cell panels.