A tabletop femtosecond laser has been used to change the surface properties of metals to reflect a specific color or combination of colors. Silver, platinum, gold, and other metals have been turned colors such as blue, gray, black, and purple.
Today Photonics.com and Physorg.com reported Unversity of Rochester's Professor Guo's recent research achievement.
The intense blast forces the surface of the metal to form nanostructures -- pits, globules and strands that response incoming light in different ways depending on the way the laser pulse sculpted the structures. Since the structures are smaller than the wavelength of light, the way they reflect light is highly dependent upon their specific size and shape, Guo said. Varying the laser intensity, pulse length, and number of pulses, allows Guo to control the configuration of the nanostructures, and hence control what color the metal reflects.