A new version of the world's blackest material is so dark that spectrometers can't measure it

By midian182
Mar 8, 2016
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  1. In 2014, UK company Surrey NanoSystems created a material so dark that it absorbed 99.96 percent of the light that touched it. Now, scientists have created a new version that is even blacker. Incredibly, it’s so dark that spectrometers can’t measure the percentage of light that it absorbs.

    The material, which is called Ventablack, is a special coating made from carbon nanotubes approximately 3500 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The tubes get packed so tightly together that when light enters the gaps between them it bounces around and can’t escape.

    "To understand this effect, try to visualise walking through a forest in which the trees are around 3 km tall instead of the usual 10 to 20 metres. It’s easy to imagine just how little light, if any, would reach you,” said researchers.

    Using a new development process, Surrey Nanosystems have made an upgraded version of Ventablack; one so dark that even the most powerful spectrometer in the world can’t measure its light-absorbing properties.

    The material has hundreds of potential applications. In addition to sensors, cameras, and other scientific equipment, Ventablack may end up being utilized by the military. Stealth vehicles coated with the material would be more effective, and soldiers could become almost invisible when wearing Ventablack-covered gear at night.

    We can also expect the super-dark material to soon enter the art world, as renowned sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor announced that he’s bought the exclusive rights to use Ventablack in his work. "Imagine a space that's so dark that as you walk in, you lose all sense of where you are, what you are, and especially all sense of time," he told the BBC.

    Don’t expect to be able to buy Ventablack and coat your PC case, clothes, or car with it, though, as it’s not available to private individuals at this time. Instead, check out the video below of the material absorbing the light from a laser pen.

    Permalink to story.

  2. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,142   +482

    Sir Anish Kapoor called dibs... good way to deny other artists from being creative.

    in other words, he's a jerk.
  3. Thrackerzod

    Thrackerzod TS Enthusiast Posts: 40   +30

    Not available to private citizens, unless you're an artist?
    Robinson Ochoa and Adhmuz like this.
  4. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 860   +308

    Now if I could only get a black like this on my monitor LOL
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  5. MannerMauler

    MannerMauler TS Booster Posts: 97   +18

    It looks like someone took a picture of tinfoil, copy and pasted it into paintshop, and drew a big black rectangle on it.....
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  6. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Maniac Posts: 797   +217

    Yep, that is what I keep seeing but that is actually what the damned thing looks like. The color is just a void that can absorb your soul if you are not careful.

    Edit. It's Vantablack not Ventablack.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  7. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,617   +494

    Damn, you discovered their secret, how did you know!?!?!? But, after they took a picture of it and drew a black rectangle on it wouldn't it come out printed as paper and not the original tinfoil? Maybe you don't know their secret then. I'm going to have to go with the nanotubes theory for now until this tinfoil printer gets revealed.
  8. andrewdoyle88

    andrewdoyle88 TS Enthusiast Posts: 51   +37

    Still not darker than my ex's heart...
  9. Dalezorz

    Dalezorz TS Rookie

    But it's called Vantablack, not Ventablack
  10. MannerMauler

    MannerMauler TS Booster Posts: 97   +18

    Pretty much.

    *sigh* I didn't say they did that, it's just so dark that it what it looks like was done. :confused:
  11. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,374   +2,165

    I want this on a Lamborghini.
    Hexic likes this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 906   +244

    This would be good in movie theaters, VR headsets, anywhere where light can be an annoyance.

    If it absorbs and doesn't reflect visible light does it also absorb and reflect radio waves?
  13. MannerMauler

    MannerMauler TS Booster Posts: 97   +18

    VR? Defiantly yes, theaters? Maybe. The major problem I see with this stuff being used in theaters, other commercial buildings, and residential buildings is that it would absorb ALL light. It can absorb a laser beam for goodness sake. This would be nice when watching the movie, but not when walking through the auditorium before and after. especially leaving mid show for refills as all the lights are dimmed after the show starts. It would be much harder to see where you're going as the walls, and most likely ceilings as well, absorb the already low amount of light. This post doesn't imply that this substance can be "deactivated" like those E-Windows that can change their tint levels.
  14. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,617   +494

    Was being sarcastic. But I still want a printer that can print on tinfoil, imagine the possibilities!
  15. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 619   +145

    I'm working on the same thing in puce
  16. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,514   +676

    Interesting how they keep deleting comments off here ..... wasen't aware this board conscribed to socialistic practices!
  17. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,295   +663

    I'm not sure they do it on purpose, but I've definitely had a couple vanish. Nothing remotely offensive or controversial about any of them so I tend to think its a bug, kind of how if you edit a post in forum mode it gives you a false double post till you refresh.
  18. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Maniac Posts: 937   +243

    For the military at night, one might consider that it is too black and, at least in some cases, will look unnatural in any environment - unless the environment has a complete lack of any light source which is pretty rare these days. Even starlight might be enough to determine that there is an unnatural lack of light where a soldier is. All an enemy might have to do to see it is "look for the shadows."
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  19. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    It's likely intentional although I'd have to see a reference to a specific post to be sure.
  20. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    You can use a dye sublimation printer to print on aluminum. I have sold art prints on aluminium plates so it would work on any thickness.
  21. sharon gibbs

    sharon gibbs TS Rookie

    I know you're all excited about this as a new tech gadget but for me it would be great to use the material in blinds. Block out blinds especially for the bedroom are currently not as block out as I would like.
    Raoul Duke likes this.
  22. So, if something was coated in this material you wouldn't be able to see it in the dark :p
  23. needforsuv

    needforsuv TS Rookie

    I wonder how many watts of laser you would need to light it up??
    also it looks like someone just cut a whole in spacetime
    Raoul Duke likes this.
  24. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 860   +308

    It's like a black hole, except for the gravity bit.
    needforsuv likes this.

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