The state of darkness (in terms of hue) is visually defined by the object’s capacity to absorb light – which makes the black color in itself ‘black’. However, British company Surrey NanoSystems‘ Vantablack material (showcased in 2014) redefines this degree of blackness with an ominous void-like bearing. That is because this material has the extraordinary capacity to absorb a whopping 99.96 percent of incident light – which might just be the world’s highest recorded figure in terms of absorbing physics-based radiation. And, in case you are wondering, the Vantablack is made of carbon nanotubes that are around thousand-times thinner than an average human hair.
As a matter of fact, it is the combination of the nanotube sizes and arrangement that makes the material so effectively black. To that end, their tiny structural surfaces cut off much of the light from entering into the substance, while the minuscule amount of light that barely manages to make its way, gets reflected between the packed arrays of the tubes until being absorbed. And what would be the use of such a dark material? Well, according to scientists involved in the project, Vantablack might have a range of applications in photography and imaging, like as coat components (for optical sensors and apertures) in astronomical cameras, telescopes, and infrared scanning systems.
Interestingly enough, the researchers have also made it clear that Vantablack will have military uses, since the first batches of the material were already ordered by defense and space agencies. And, since we brought ‘interesting’ into the fray, according to Belgian artist Frederik De Wilde, his carbon nanotube-made super-black material is even darker than the Vantablack.