The New Black: material so dark it looks like a black hole
2014-07-14 0:00

By Sebastian Anthony | ExtremeTech

At a nondescript industrial park in south England, scientists have created a new super-black material — fashioned out of carbon nanotubes — that is so dark it’s like “looking at a black hole.” The material, called Vantablack, absorbs all but 0.035% of the incident light that bounces off it, meaning your eyes essentially can’t see it — you can only see the space around it, and then infer that there must be something occupying that eerie abyss. Vantablack’s first customers are in the defense and space sectors, where the material can be used to make a whole variety of stealth craft and weaponry, and more sensitive telescopes that can detect the faintest of faraway stars.


Speaking to the Independent, the company’s CTO, Ben Jensen, attempted to describe the material — which is rather hard, as you can’t really see it. Even when you bend or crumple the Vantablack, the material — or rather, the dark nothingness created by the material — looks completely flat. “You expect to see the hills [of the bends and crumples] and all you can see … it’s like black, like a hole, like there’s nothing there. It just looks so strange.”

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