Scientists unveil blackest material ever invented

A sample of Vantablack, the darkest material ever invented. Photo from Surrey NanoSystems

It’s never been easier to create illusion of a blackhole to another dimension – without the help of Photoshop. British scientists have unveiled the blackest material known to humankind and images of the coating resemble portholes to another dimension.

The substance is called Vantablack, and was first invented by Surrey NanoSystem back in 2014. At the time, it was declared the darkest material ever made, absorbing 99.96 per cent of ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light.

In 2016, the team managed to up the blackness, so that even a high-powered laser wasn’t able to reflect much light back when run across the material.

A bust covered in Vantablack compared to the original bust. Photo from Surrey NanoSystems

According to its creators, Vantablack isn’t a pigment, paint or fabric, but “a functionalised ‘forest’ of millions upon millions of incredibly small tubes made of carbon, or carbon nanotubes… A surface area of 1 cm2 would contain around 1,000 million nanotubes.”

The spray-on version, which is called Vantablack S-VIS, allows the substance to be coated onto large objects. A photo of a mask covered in the coating completely eliminates all details, so that it looks like a gaping black space.

The creators don’t recommend the spray be used in art projects. According to the company’s FAQ section, it’s meant for things like “high-performance infrared cameras, sensors, scientific instruments, satellite-borne calibration sources, and even to provide a unique aesthetic effect in certain high-end luxury products.” Schools and museums within the U.K. are also welcome to request a sample.