New version of Vantablack is now so dark, it can’t be measured

11 Apr 201741 Shares

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A bust coated in Vantablack. Image: Surrey NanoSystems

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Vantablack – the blackest material ever made – has just gotten a little bit darker, as it nears being able to absorb all light that hits it.

Back in 2014, researchers in the UK unveiled a physics marvel in the form of Vertically Aligned Nanotube Array black (Vantablack), a material that was heralded as the blackest material ever created.

The chemically grown network of carbon nanotubes – each just 20 nanometres in diameter – are forged on a base of aluminium in a high-temperature chamber.

The resulting density is so great that, within a patch measuring a square inch, there are more than 1bn nanotubes.

In its first version, Vantablack was found to absorb 99.6pc of visible light, both on the ultraviolet and infrared spectrums.

To the human eye, objects coated in Vantablack can appear as if they are bizarre, 2D photoshops with no distinct features or perspective.

Now, the team at Surrey NanoSystems has revealed the newest generation of Vantablack, which has, once again, managed to push the limits of blackness.

A laser beam cannot reflect off Vantablack. Gif: Giphy

Now comes in a spray

According to Phys.org, the researchers realised it was darker because the spectrometer they were using to gauge its darkness simply could not offer a measurement.

In the three years since it was announced, the material has been in demand from industry and creatives alike, with Vantablack making its debut aboard a microsatellite.

The Kent Ridge 1 satellite uses Vantablack to absorb virtually all incident light, to improve the performance of the satellite’s star tracker-based positioning control system.

Also revealed by Surrey NanoSystems was the development of a spray version of Vantablack – dubbed Vantablack S-VIS – which should make the coating more accessible.

However, the company said that it won’t be quite as black as this latest example.

Surrey NanoSystems has suggested cameras and sensors as ideal platforms for the use of Vantablack in the years to come but, at this time, it is still too delicate for commercial uses.

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com