Material Vantablack – darker than black

Scientists have found a way to look into the very heart of darkness. And if without jokes, the dark something on the images presented in this text is not a portal to another dimension, but at the same time it is not a “Photoshop”. These are real physical objects that were covered by Vantablack – the darkest material known to science.

If you do not know, Vantablack was created by British researchers as early as 2014 and shortly thereafter it was declared the darkest material ever created in laboratories capable of absorbing 99.96 percent of visible, ultraviolet and infrared light.

After a series of experiments with this material by Surrey NanoSystems, which, incidentally, created it, in early 2016 it was announced that there is not a single spectrometer in the world that has enough power to measure how much this material actually can Absorb light.

“Even with a beam of a high-power laser directed at it, this material practically does not reflect anything. Before that, we did not create such a “dark” material, so we simply do not have suitable spectrometers that could accurately show the level of reflection in the infrared range, “say the creators of Vantablack.

The material was decided to make it more practical, so the researchers created a “spray version” of Vantablack, which, of course, turned out not so dark – the material based on the spray absorbs “only” 99.8 percent of ultraviolet, visible and infrared light – but is able to visually Three-dimensional objects are similar to two-dimensional objects.

Just look at the image below and see for yourself:

So how does this thing work?

At its core, the original Vantablack material is not paint, dye, or fabric. This special coating, created on the basis of millions of carbon nanotubes with a diameter of about 20 nanometers (about 3500 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair) and a length of 14 to 50 microns (1 nanometer is 0.001 microns). In other words, a surface area of ​​1 square centimeter can contain about 1 billion of these tiny nanotubes. When light hits the surface covered by Vantablack, the photons fill the gaps between the nanotubes and actually remain locked up, starting to simply bounce off the molecules of the material inside.

“The almost complete absence of reflex capacity makes it possible to create an almost perfect black surface,” the researchers say.

“To understand this effect, try to imagine yourself walking through the forest, whose tree height is about 3 kilometers instead of the usual 10-20 meters. It is easy to imagine how little light can reach you. ”

The Vantablack material is so dark that the human eye is practically incapable of perceiving it, because our brain requires the presence of a reflective light so that it can be understood that it is right in front of our eyes. The creators of the material say that people looking at the material experience some degree of confusion, and some in general say that when viewed on Vantablack they see not a physical object, but rather some kind of bottomless black hole.

The spray version of the material is called Vantablack S-VIS and allows the material to be used on a wider range of different surfaces. One of the potential areas of application is the creation of real aircraft-invisible.

And so it looks like a three-dimensional mask with a Vantablack sprayed onto it. Our brain may seem that the mask was simply cut out with the same “Photoshop”.


And here is a picture of a spherical object covered with Vantablack S-VIS.

If you have already combed your hands to get such a thing for yourself, we hasten to disappoint. In free access, this material can not be obtained. Therefore, the painting of your car is canceled. However, if you are an employee of a major university or museum, you may be able to get a sample.

Below you can see a video that compares the items of “ordinary” black with objects covered with Vantablack. The difference, as they say, without comment.