Applications of Vantablack and Vantablack S-VIS
The fine nanometre-sized optical cavities that make Vantablack so dark mean it cannot be used in environments open to direct contact and mechanical abrasion. It needs to be protected from accidental touching, for example behind or inside a component, or situated where contact is avoided. Please review our FAQs page to find answers to many common questions.
What can Vantablack be used for?
Many of Vantablack's initial applications are industrial or scientific, but excitingly Vantablack also has applications in luxury, limited edition products. It is already being used to add depth and glamour in the top end luxury markes such as this limited edition watch from Swiss watchmaker MCT. The timepiece costs $95,000 and just ten have been made.
Vantablack has captured the imagination of product designers, and although the process tends to limit the applications to very high price-tag items, it is likely that new and engaging uses will be found across the range of luxury consumer goods.
Stray Light Suppression
Treating a surface with a coating so black that it deceives the eye opens up a world of opportunity for those working in product design. Three-dimensional features are made to appear flat, and contrast takes on new meaning. The oft-used expression "it's like staring into a black hole" goes some way to describing the effect, and explains the artistic and emotional appeal of a colour that appears everywhere.
It has long been the goal of the professional lighting industry to make 'invisible' light sources where you get a perfect beam pattern and no unwanted glare or lighting overspill from the housing's internal non-reflecting components. These lighting design requirements can now be met using coatings from the Vantablack product range.
Black body sources and targets are widely-used in calibrating a range of imaging sensors for infrared sensing applications. Ultra-high emissivity (0.997 at 3-5 microns) and excellent thermal conduction make Vantablack ideally-suited to this application, ensuring a high-performance, stable reference. The absorbing characteristics of Vantablack, and its ability to be precisely applied to extremely fine micron sized features often make it the only option for coating thermal targets.
Thermal imaging sensors use absorbing coatings to enhance sensitivity. Vantablack coatings have very high performance from UV to FIR. The coatings excellent optical properties combined with its extremely low mass and very high thermal conduction are key to realising performance enhancements in new solutions such as pyroelectric sensing, bolometers and thermopiles.
Vantablack's unique visual effect - reflecting almost no visible light to create a space like a black hole - has interesting applications in the worlds of art and architecture. Artist Anish Kapoor has been granted exclusive use of the material in art, where he is interested in working with "void forms" using the non-reflective properties of the material.
In architectural terms, Vantablack offers an unusual visual alternative to the weightless glass and steel constructs of recent times. Architects are interested in creating 'mood' spaces by using Vantablack's unique ability to hide 3D features.
Additionally, the coating is very efficient at absorbing in the solar spectrum compared with other black finishes. This opens up the possibility of improving climate control in large buildings.
IR Imaging Systems
High precision IR imaging systems use cryogenically-cooled cold-shields to improve sensor performance. Vantablack's low mass and vacuum compatibility makes it ideally suited to rapid cryo-cooling, and its demonstrated shock and vibration resistance overcome the issues of foreign object debris that can result in contamination of focal plane arrays.
The spectrometers widely-used in medical and scientific instruments most often operate at wavelengths where Vantablack's characteristics offer significant benefit in stray light reduction.This performance allows the size and complexity of optical components to be reduced, minimising cost. Further, the ability to define precisely where the coating is applied (at a micron level, if required) provides the designer with some flexibility.
Vision systems, head up displays, super-black instrument clusters and head lamp beam profile control are some of the applications in the automotive sector.
Unfortunately, Vantablack is not a suitable coating for use on exposed trim or as an external painted surface. After all, why would you want to turn a thing of beauty into something with no perceptible form or shape.
Modern projectors use high-power illumination sources to create sharper images for cinemagoers. Vantablack has been shown to be highly effective at trapping and dumping unwanted light from high intensity illumination sources. It also has the potential to provide much better contrast in the projected image.
Satellite Calibration Sources
Understanding climate change data and how this impacts our world today and in the future is critical to all nations. Earth Observation (EO) satellites monitor the oceans and land temperatures on a continuous basis to provide data for predictive models. EO imaging systems use high resolution cameras that are calibrated against high emissivity black-bodies (BB). Vantablack is being trialed in next generation BB sources to help improve optical performance. It has already achieved flight heritage in optical baffle systems.
Lens flare in professional camera and cinamatography systems has always been a problem when shooting in bright sun or studio lighting. Vantablack coatings are helping the next generation of camera and lens system designers produce optical assemblies that are far more tolerant to direct sunlight and powerful studio lighting.
There are so many applications for the Vantablack range of coatings that we can only display a small number on this page. Please get in touch to see how you can use Vantablack for your application.
Please also read our FAQs page to get a better understanding of any restrictions or limitations in its use.