UK Scientists develop the ‘world’s darkest material’ called Vantablack
A new nanotech material has been created by scientists, claimed to be the world’s blackest-ever material, called Vantablack. The UK nanotech company Surrey NanoSystems announced the breakthrough in developing this super black material, which has broken the previous records in the Guinness Book. The material is intended for military and astronautical purposes and not geared toward fashion.
“Vantablack is a major breakthrough by UK industry in the application of nanotechnology to optical instrumentation,” said Ben Jensen, Chief Technology Officer, Surrey NanoSystems.
Made using carbon nanotubes that are 1,000 times thinner than the average human hair, the new material “is revolutionary in its ability to be applied to lightweight, temperature-sensitive structures such as aluminium whilst absorbing 99.96 percent of incident radiation, believed to be the highest-ever recorded.”
The nanotubes grow very quickly, and are grown like a field of carbon grass. Absorbing all but 0.035 per cent of light, the previous blackest record was 0.04 per cent. Scientists also say this Vantablack substance can be made at 400C, compared with the 750C at which Nasa has grown deep blacks, allowing it to grow on lighter materials such as aluminium.
Jensen gave an example of a use for the material, saying: “It reduces stray-light, improving the ability of sensitive telescopes to see the faintest stars, and allows the use of smaller, lighter sources in space-borne black body calibration systems. Its ultra-low reflectance improves the sensitivity of terrestrial, space and air-borne instrumentation.”
Vantablack can also be used to coat various internal components, such as optical sensors, apertures, baffles and cold shields. “We are now scaling up production to meet the requirements of our first customers in the defense and space sectors, and have already delivered our first orders,” Jensen added.