A bunch of researchers from Britain have gained fame for manufacturing what is being considered the blackest material. Termed as Vantablack, this material is so black that it absorbs as much as 99.965 percent visible light. The manufacturers have now declared that there is no spectrometer which has the power to measure the amount of light that is absorbed.
The video that was shot by inventors Surrey NanoSystems shows Vantablack just after it was taken out of the reactor. A representative went on to explain the phenomenon, “It’s resulted in a coating so black that our spectrometers can’t measure it! Even running a high power laser pointer across it barely reflects anything back to the viewer. We have never before made a material so ‘black’ that it can’t be picked up on our spectrometers in the infrared.”
This raises the question about what Vantablack really is. If you thought it is fabric or paint, you might want to reconsider that notion. It is actually a rather unusual coating which is manufactured out of millions of carbon nanotubes. Every one of these nanotubes has dimensions of nearly 20 nanometres. This is about 3,500 times tinier compared to the diameter of human hair. Just so you know, a nanometre is equivalent to 0.001 microns.
As soon as light comes into contact with the surface, it manages to penetrate the space between nanotubes before it is immediately absorbed because it can not escape. The researchers explained this in the following words: “The near total lack of reflectance creates an almost perfect black surface. To understand this effect, try to visualize 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.”