Remember the children's horror story: "In a dark, dark night, in a dark, dark room ..." Have you ever wondered what could be darker than night, and indeed darker than anything else? The blackest of natural materials is ordinary coal, which absorbs up to 96 percent of the visible light emission. But scientists have gone even further.
In July 2014, scientists at the UK National Physical Laboratory and Surrey NanoSystems presented the world's blackest material, Vantablack. It absorbs 99.965% of the radiation incident on it - visible light, microwaves and radio waves.
Vantablack is created from a plant of vertical tubes that “grow” on aluminum foil, each tube 10, 000 times thinner than a human hair. These tubes are grown in the laboratory on special sheets of aluminum foil.
The nanotubes are so thin that photons hitting Vantablack are lost between these nanotubes and are practically not reflected back, turning into heat.
When a person looks at this material, it is very difficult for him to describe his feelings. He doesn't fully understand what his eyes are seeing. Shape, texture and contours are absent, leaving only a black abyss in its place.
Vantablack can become widespread, it can be used to prevent light scattering in telescopes, improve infrared cameras, in thermal protection systems, and as a coating for miniature assemblies and elements of various microelectromechanical devices. The military also noticed this development, but the scientists from Surrey Nanosystems, who created Vantablack, are forbidden to talk to reporters about this topic. The price of this material is also not clear, scientists limited themselves to the phrase "it is very expensive"
In addition to its unique optical properties, the new Vantablack material conducts heat seven times better than copper, and also has ten times better tensile strength than steel.