We had thought that vantablack was the blackest black in existence when it was used to cover a BMW X6 recently, but now scientists at MIT have created what they are calling a material that is 10 times blacker than anything else previously reported.
More specifically they note that this new material absorbs 99.96 percent of light, with vantablack sitting at 99.9 percent, but we’ll let the people with degrees on the subject determine which one is in fact the blackest.
What is interesting about the MIT creation, is the fact that it was created by accident, with the team of researchers trying to grow carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on a variety of materials.
“The material is made from vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, or CNTs — microscopic filaments of carbon, like a fuzzy forest of tiny trees, that the team grew on a surface of chlorine-etched aluminum foil. The foil captures more than 99.96 percent of any incoming light, making it the blackest material on record,” writes Jennifer Chu for MIT News.
“The researchers have published their findings today in the journal ACS-Applied Materials and Interfaces. They are also showcasing the cloak-like material as part of a new exhibit today at the New York Stock Exchange, titled ‘The Redemption of Vanity,'” continues Chu.
Said exhibit comes in the form of coating a 16.78-carat natural yellow diamond in the material (pictured in the header), with the stone costing roughly $2 million.
Apart from covering really expensive gemstones, the MIT researchers say the material has some practical applications too.
“There are optical and space science applications for very black materials, and of course, artists have been interested in black, going back well before the Renaissance,” explains Brian Wardle, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.
He adds that it could be used to help in the reduction of glare for space telescopes orbiting planets.
“Our material is 10 times blacker than anything that’s ever been reported, but I think the blackest black is a constantly moving target. Someone will find a blacker material, and eventually we’ll understand all the underlying mechanisms, and will be able to properly engineer the ultimate black,” concludes Wardle.
We’ll have to wait and see if BMW plans to cover one of its cars in the new material.