What is Vantablack?
Original Vantablack was a functionalised ‘forest’ of millions upon millions of incredibly small tubes made of carbon, or carbon nanotubes (CNTs) grown in a CVD reactor at 400°C. Each nanotube in the Vantablack forest has a diameter of around 10 nanometers and they were typically 30 microns long. Because of technical breakthroughs with our spray coatings we no longer manufacture original Vantablack as it has been superseded by - Vantablack S-VIS, S-IR, VBx2 and Vantablack Vision.
What is Vantablack S-VIS?
Vantablack S-VIS is a variation of the original Vantablack coating that is deposited using a spray based process, and has been said to be the world’s blackest commercially available coating. Again, it is manufactured from carbon nanotubes, but unlike original Vantablack, they are very short, and once chemically bound together they form an open coral-like structure that is highly efficient at trapping electromagnetic energy from UV to THz. In parts of the electromagnetic spectrum Vantablack S-VIS is not as dark as the original Vantablack, but in the visible spectrum it is very difficult to know which is which when viewed side-by-side. At shallow grazing angles it can become even darker than the original. This feature makes it very suitable for complex 3D objects such as baffles and cold shields.
Please note that Vantablack S-VIS is not available in a spray can or in solution for people to apply themselves as it requires complex post processing to achieve its high levels of absorption.
Who can order Vantablack S-VIS and S-IR samples?
Any company, research facility or organisation can order samples for characterisation as long as their application is suitable for the coating.
In some cases generic samples will require a UK export license, so in order to comply with export control regulations we are required to verify the identity of customers and the nature of their proposed use of Vantablack. Because of this the coating is not available to private individuals at this time.
Can I order a sample for a school, university or museum?
Yes, due to the high number of enquiries from museums and educational facilities we have created a sealed 'crinkled foil' display unit that demonstrates to viewers the unique properties of the coating. Unfortunately, if this is to be delivered outside of the UK you will need to fill in export license paperwork. This typically takes about 4 weeks to process.
Link to samples page (educational display at bottom of page)
Can I use the Vantablack name in my products?
Vantablack is a globally registered trademark and recognised brand owned by Surrey NanoSystems Limited. Companies would need written permission from SNS to use the Vantablack name in their products.
Can I use Vantablack in Art?
Vantablack is generally not suitable for use in art due to the way in-which it's made. Vantablack S-VIS also requires specialist application to achieve its aesthetic effect. In addition, the coating's performance beyond the visible spectrum results in it being classified as a dual-use material that is subject to UK Export Control. We have therefore chosen to license Vantablack S-VIS exclusively to Kapoor Studios UK to explore its use in works of art. This exclusive licence limits the coating’s use in the field of art, but does not extend to any other sectors.
What does Vantablack look like?
In truth, it could be said that it is almost impossible to “see” Vantablack as so little light is reflected from the surface. However, the observer’s brain of course tries to make sense of what it is seeing, with the result that some people describe it like looking into a hole! The piece of aluminum foil shown here has been creased, or wrinkled, in a random fashion before being coated with Vantablack on one side. On the uncoated surface, the creases are clearly visible, yet on the coated area the surface appears as either a completely flat black surface or simply a void. The almost total lack of light reflected from the Vantablack surface pevents the eye detecting any surface detail. See our pictures gallery and social media channels for more examples.
Is Vantablack Fabric suitable for fashion clothing?
Vantablack fabric is not suitable for use in fashion clothing or for applications where it contacts skin.
Is Vantablack S-VIS safe?
Yes. The S-VIS variant uses a totally different manufacturing process that uses very short multiwall carbon nanotubes (typically <20 microns), with additional wet and dry functionalisations to create a chemically 'bound' coral-like open structure. We have not seen data that shows individual tubes can be released from the matrix, but as with all nanostructures, it should be used in appropriate applications.