Nothing is as sleek or cool as the color black on anything. Don’t agree? Ferrari’s are most popular in red but have you ever seen a black F40? AMAZING. The color black is associated with power, fear, and elegance but can also mean mystery. Created recently, a new ultra-dark material coating has given us a new level of black void of perspective and depth. Some have said it’s like looking into a black hole. Take a look for yourself:
The material is called Vantablack and it possesses the ability to absorb 99.965% of all incident light. In other words, light (photons) is allowed to enter the material, bounce around, and become trapped with only 0.035% ever leaving the material. With this low percentage of reflection, our eyes are unable to see the material coating, just the space around it. As you can see from the pictures, there is no detail or physical characteristics where the coating is applied.
Surrey NanoSystems, the creator of Vantablack, is very secretive about how this material is made; however, how it works is something we can figure out. Vanta in Vantablack stands for “vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays”. Carbon nanotubes are known to be very absorbent across a wide variety of radiation including UV light, infrared radiation, and microwaves. These tiny vertical tubes are then densely packed on an aluminum substrate (aluminum foil) in a very controlled environment. This results in a material so absorbent that almost no form of radiation is allowed to escape.
As you may have already figured, Vantablack is only available for the defense and space sectors right now but its uses are endless. Seeing nothing but black void can be great for stealth applications in aircraft, ships, and especially in Team UV’s underwater vehicle. It can also be used in optics for telescopes and imaging. Most imaging systems, especially those used in space, are calibrated against the blackest available colors so it’s obvious Vantablack could lead to even more amazing discoveries.
If you would like more information about Vantablack, Extreme Tech’s article has a link to a technical article!