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article imageVantablack: the darkest material ever made

By Tim Sandle     Jul 13, 2014 in Science
A company has produced a "strange, alien" material so black that it absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of visual light. This has set a new world record.
The new material is called 'Vantablack' and it has been developed by Surrey NanoSystems, based in Newhaven. The remarkable thing about the material is how dark it is; no other material has been made that absorbs so much light. The lack of light reflected back accounts for the intensity of the blackness.
The "super black" material is a type of coating made of carbon nanotubes (each 10,000 times thinner than a human hair), developed onto sheets of aluminium foil . According to the Independent: "It is so dark that the human eye cannot understand what it is seeing. Shapes and contours are lost, leaving nothing but an apparent abyss."
The material, the Daily Mail reports, was produced using a proprietary low-temperature carbon nanotube synthesis process, which can deposit vertically aligned nanotube arrays (or VANTAs) precisely and repeatably on a range of temperature-sensitive, lightweight materials. Vantablack also conducts heat 7.5 times more effectively than copper and has 10 times the strength of steel.
Future applications for the material include astronomical cameras, telescopes and infrared scanning systems, each of which could function more effectively. The material is said to withstands space-launch shock and vibration, and exhibits excellent thermal stability.
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