Darkest Material on Earth Gets Even Darker
It's so black, even spectrometers can't measure it. Continue reading →
A material called Vantablack is the darkest, most blackest, most void-on-earth material ever invented. It was introduced by Surrey NanoSystems in 2014 and back then, the company said the material was capable of absorbing 99.96 percent of light.
As if that wasn't dark enough, the company announced this week that they've made Vantablack even darker and by how much is unknown - because it's so black, even spectrometers can't measure it.
The material is made by growing a forest of carbon nanotubes on aluminum-based surfaces. Until Vantablack came out, other attempts at making super black materials required expensive, extremely high-temperature processes. But Surrey NanoSystems was able to manufacture it using low temps.
By now, you're wondering why people have been working so hard at making such a dark material - other than to mess with your mind and eyeballs.
But these materials are excellent for applications where stray light can cause problems. For example, inside a telescope designed to see faint stars. A coating of Vantablack will eliminate stray light and make those stars easier to image.
Eliminating stray light could also improve laser projection systems and solar energy technology. The company lists a range of other applications here, including architecture, luxury good and artwork.
Speaking of art, it seems that Vantablack has been raising some hackles in the art world since renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor bought the exclusive rights to use the material in art, reports NPR.
Personally, I'm not sure what the all the hub-bub is about. I guess artists have a thing for black. But I can pretty guarantee you that as soon as you tell people they can't have something, they want it. So kudos to Surrey NanoSystems for creating demand.
To get a sense for just how black this material is, take a look at the videos below.
This one shows a scientist passing a laser over Vantablack, and as you can see, the light completely disappears into the void.
In this video, a light is passed over three different materials, two of which just think they're black.
Sept. 27, 2011 --
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