The world’s blackest substance is causing people to do a double take, because it is so dark it makes even a three-dimensional object covered in it simply look like a flat void.
Not exactly paint or any kind of pigment, Vantablack is a high-tech material made from carbon nanotubes, with each one-millionth of a millimeter thick. To put it in perspective, a one-centimeter area covered with Vantablack would contain around 1,000 million nanotubes.
When applied to surfaces, the material absorbs 99.96 percent of ultraviolet, visible and infrared light, which makes it the darkest material ever created in a lab, according to Science Alert.
To get a better idea of what is happening, scientists suggest visualizing how dark it would be walking thought a forest in which the trees all around are 10,000 feet tall instead of the usual 30 feet. Very little, if any, light would ever reach the ground.
Take a look at how black this substance actually is.
This morning’s Google worm-hole: ‘Vantablack’. pic.twitter.com/9CaUo3JwL8
— CJohnston (@CJohnstonNI) March 30, 2017
— STUART SEMPLE (@stuartsemple) March 28, 2017
Below is a video researchers put together to showcase the material.
There are actually two versions of the material. The first type of Vantablack was invented in 2014 by British researchers at Surrey Nanosystems. Now Vantablack 2.0 is available, though only for application by Surrey Nanosytsems or under a special license obtained from the company, according to New Atlas.
And those licenses go only to select institutions, according to Surrey Nanosystems’ FAQ page.
“Only verified companies, research facilities and educational establishments can order a sample of Vantablack,” the company stated. “The coating is not available to private individuals at this time and we can’t accept orders from private email addresses.”
Potential uses would be for space technology, such as calibrating the cameras NASA uses for space photography.
The stuff is also being produced in spray paint form, though it is not as easy to apply to objects as it sounds. New Atlas reported that a number of “pre- and post-application steps” are necessary to get the job done right due to the material’s sensitive nature.
This is the first time scientists have been able to make a substance so black that it barely reflects anything, much less make anything that cannot be picked up on spectrometers in the infrared.
The human capacity for invention never ceases to amaze, but this is simply outstanding.
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