Off Topic: Meet Vantablack, The World’s Darkest Material


Is your dark room not really that dark? Could it be darker? This new material could be the solution to your problems.

Look at that. It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.

I’m sorry for that, but there are some jokes that demand to be made. That was one of them.

In all seriousness, this is Vantablack, a material made by the British company Surrey NanoSystems that sets a world record by absorbing all but 0.035% of visual light. It’s made of carbon nanohair that is 1,000 times thinner than the average human hair. The tubes are small enough to prevent light from entering them and packed so tightly that the light which makes it between the tubes bounces between them until it’s absorbed.

It’s got applications in astronomical cameras, telescopes, and infrared scanning systems, since it has “virtually undetectable levels of outgassing and particle fallout” which can contaminate sensitive imagers .And, ominously, it has “military uses that the material’s maker is not allowed to discuss.”

The picture actually reveals just how black it is: the aluminum foil that the Vantablack is “grown” on is clearly crumpled. But the thin Vantablack layer doesn’t echo those shapes, instead just creating a void. Said Ben Jensen, the firm’s chief technical officer:

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