Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating

Exclusive rights to the use of ultra-black Vantablack S-VIS surface coating in blackbody calibration sources has been agreed between Surrey NanoSystems and Santa Barbara Infrared

  • infrared leader to use world's blackest coating in blackbody calibration sources

Newhaven, UK, December 5, 2016 --- Exclusive rights to the use of ultra-black Vantablack S-VIS surface coating in blackbody calibration sources has been agreed between Surrey NanoSystems and Santa Barbara Infrared.

The unparalleled broadband absorption of Vantablack S-VIS makes it ideally suited to enhancing the performance and utility of Santa Barbara Infrared’s (SBIR) precision electro-optical instrumentation, reinforcing its leadership position in military, aerospace IR/FLIR testing and simulation markets. Initially, SBIR is using Surrey NanoSystems' UK facility to apply the Vantablack coating, while it establishes a local facility to serve the North American defence, aerospace and electro-optical markets.

Commenting on the agreement, SBIR's President Steve McHugh notes: "The superb broad band absorption of Vantablack coatings, and the highly uniform deposition layer, helps us to create blackbody sources offering extremely high radiometric performance without caveats - greatly enhancing ease of use."

Surrey NanoSystems’ CEO David Wong adds: “We’re really pleased to have Vantablack recognised by SBIR, who have a reputation built-on performance and precision. We’re also delighted to have a partner to simplify procurement and provide local support for Vantablack coatings in North America. We see this as crucial to serving such an important market”.

Surrey NanoSystems' Vantablack is the world's blackest surface coating material for the UV to FIR spectrum. It employs an innovative nanomaterial structure that absorbs virtually all incident light. Vantablack was developed for space-borne imaging applications and offers exceptional IR absorption and excellent thermal, mechanical and environmental stability - attributes which uniquely qualify it for the most demanding applications. The material has already achieved space heritage with its recent deployment on an Earth observation satellite.

The S-VIS version of Vantablack traps over 99.8% of near- and mid-infrared wavelengths hitting its surface. It is applied using a simple spraying technique before being post-processed to achieve its exceptional broad band absorption characteristics and near-perfect Lambertian performance. This absorption is maintained over a wide-range of wavelengths and viewing angles, far-outstripping conventional black paints and other vacuum-deposited coatings. These characteristics are critical for SBIR’s specialised equipment, where compliance with rigourous US defence standards, long-term stability and traceable precision are essential attributes.

The active element of Vantablack S-VIS is a functionalised carbon nanotube matrix. The coating is applied using a proprietary process that includes a number of pre- and post-application steps to achieve its ultra-low reflectance. The process is scalable and suitable for high-volume production on both small and large substrates, and on complex 3D surfaces. Vantablack S-VIS can be applied to a variety of substrates, with the only major constraint being the ability of the substrate to withstand process temperatures of 100-150 degrees Centigrade, making the coating suitable for application onto many popular types of engineering-grade polymers and composite materials.

Since its launch in spring 2016, well over 100 Vantablack S-VIS projects have already been completed, including in space-borne instrumentation and military optical systems.

The agreement with SBIR provides the next platform for the further adoption of the technology.

More information:;

Video available: Close up view of a Vantablack coating:


Vantablack is a registered trademark of Surrey NanoSystems


About Surrey NanoSystems

Surrey NanoSystems combines the best of British ingenuity and materials science for use in the development, growth and commercialisation of strategically important nanomaterials, and particularly in the development and commercialisation of super-black coatings. The company was founded in 2006 as a spinout from the University of Surrey, and is backed by some of the UK’s most successful IP commercialisation and venture capital providers including IP Group PLC, Octopus, NewWave Ventures and Parkwalk Advisors. Located near Brighton in the UK, the company operates a modern cleanroom based nanomaterials research and production facility.

About Santa Barbara Infrared Inc (SBIR)

SBIR designs and manufactures the most technologically advanced infrared and electro-optical test instrumentation available. Its broad line of innovative products supports testing of military and commercial sensor systems and are used world wide in laboratory, production, depot and field test applications. SBIR was founded in 1986 and quickly became the leader in the electro-optical (EO) test instrumentation field. In 1999 SBIR became part of HEICO Corporation, an aerospace company based in Hollywood, Florida. HEICO Corporation is a rapidly growing, technology-driven company that has been engaged in niche market segments within the aerospace, aviation and electronics industries for more than 40 years. Additionally, HEICO has been named on Forbes' Best 100 Small Companies list and 200 "Hot Shot Stocks" list routinely. SBIR has continued to maintain its leadership position within the test instrumentation field and is still the preferred supplier to many of the major domestic and international manufacturers of EO sensors and systems. SBIR's focus is on providing well engineered, cost effective hardware and software solutions to the EO community. Its extensive design capabilities cover the spectrum of infrared, laser, visible and dynamic scene projection applications.

For more information please contact:

Surrey NanoSystems, Euro Business Park, Building 24, Newhaven, BN9 0DQ, UK. t: +44 (0)1273 515899;;

Media contact: Ben Jensen, t: +44 (0) 1273 515899

Santa Barbara Infrared, Inc., 30 S Calle Cesar Chavez, Suite D, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, USA. t: 805-965-3669;;

Media contact: Tony Vengel, t:+1 805 965 3669

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