The Real New Black: Scientists Have Created A Material That Is Blacker Than Black

by Alexia LaFata

Looks like black is no longer the darkest color in the universe.

"Vantablack," or super black, absorbs a world record of all but 0.035 percent of light. It's so dark that the human eye has trouble figuring out what it's even looking at and can't determine the color's dimension or shape, giving the illusion of a black hole.

Vantablack has been created by British researchers at Surrey NanoSystems using carbon nanotubes, which are 10,000 times thinner than human hair and don't allow light in unless it passes through the gaps in between the tubes.

Vantablack is 10 times stronger than steel and conducts heat seven and a half times more effectively than copper.

Photos released by Surrey NanoSystems show Vantablack being grown on sheets of aluminum foil. The foil sheets are uneven and crinkled, but the surface covered by the Vantablack appears smooth because of its absorption of light.

Chief Technology Officer of Surrey NanoSystems Ben Jensen said:

Vantablack is a major breakthrough by UK industry in the application of nanotechnology to optical instrumentation.

For example, it reduces stray-light, improving the ability of sensitive telescopes to see the faintest stars, and allows the use of smaller, lighter sources in space-borne black body calibration systems.

Its ultra-low reflectance improves the sensitivity of terrestrial, space and air-borne instrumentation.

Vantablack has been created to be used in telescopes, infrared scanning systems and astronomical cameras. It will be launched at the Farnborough International Airshow this week.

This is definitely as close to a black hole as we'll ever get. We probably wouldn't want to get too close to one anyway, though, because we'd die.

H/T: io9, Photos Courtesy: Surrey Nano Systems