We're obsessed with Vantablack, the blackest material ever made. Every time Surrey Nanosystems, the company that makes it, releases a new video it blows us away. In this new video, the researchers coated a sphere with Vantablack. They then moved the sphere over another square of Vantablack, and it disappeared!
Vantablack is the world’s blackest black. It’s so black that 3D objects coated in the material are visually reduced to mere silhouettes. A crumpled piece of tinfoil, for example, looks like a vast abyss. That’s because the material absorbs more than 99.965 percent of light. “It’s the blackest material in the universe after black holes,” the British sculptor Anish Kapoor once said. “It’s a physical thing that you cannot see.”
An ultra-black coating that absorbs virtually all incident light around it makes surface features disappear so it looks like a black hole. That also helps it boost performance of the Kent Ridge 1 satellite's star trackers and Earth observation instruments.
The S-VIS version of Surrey NanoSystems’ Vantablack spray coating has been used to enhance the optical sensitivity of the optical instrumentation on board the Kent Ridge 1 low earth orbit (LEO) satellite.
The paint used on the Hubble telescope is one of the blackest materials in space. It's there to reduce stray light so the instrument can photograph the best possible images of our solar system and beyond.
In the Antenna wing of the Science Museum in London, a bronze bust of a man sits behind a wall of glass. The face, which belongs to BBC presenter Marty Jopson, isn’t very big—maybe 6 or 7 inches tall. It’s highly textured, and light catches in its rivets and dimples. Aside from the playfully upturned edges of Jopson’s mustache, there’s nothing particularly remarkable about this bust. But next to it sits an identical bust that absolutely boggles the mind. It looks like someone has cut a hole in the air in the shape of Jopson’s head, leaving only a gaping, empty blackness.
Lost in last week’s furor over an artist getting the rights to a shade of black was the chemistry that made it possible.
At issue is a material called Vantablack and its derivative S-VIS. Developed by a British company called Surrey Nanosystems, these coatings absorb an incredible amount of light—as much as 99.96% depending on what wavelength you consider. They’re so black that seeing them feels like looking into a hole.