Black is black

A perfect black body exists only as a theoretical construct, thermodynamically perfect entity that absorbs all incident energy and can re-emit that energy without loss. In biomimetic work, a team from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have taken inspiration from what seems to be the polar opposite, the whiter than white Cyphochilus beetle. By exploiting their understanding of why this beetle is so white the team has used nanoscopic "lollipops" to create a surface that traps incident radiation. "We are employing these nanoparticles to ideate new devices for water desalination and the production of solar fuels," team leader Andrea Fratalocchi told us.