When you look into the abyss
Vantablack, short for “vertically aligned nanotube arrays”, is the darkest artificial substance known, absorbing up to 99.965% of visible light. The company Surrey NanoSystems Limited “grows” this forest of vertical tubes on a substrate using chemical vapour deposition.
Its light absorbing properties make it ideal for preventing light from bouncing around inside camera, telescope and sensor optics. This is an interesting application of the Principle 32 – Colour Changes.
“Its ultra-low reflectance improves the sensitivity of terrestrial, space and air-borne instrumentation.”
Ben Jensen, Surrey Nanosystems CTO
Visually striking art and architecture
A variant of substance that can be applied as a spray was used on the “Vantablack pavilion” at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Looking like a portal into deep space, the pavilion, giving the illusion of being a void, complete with “stars”, small points of light on the end of rods.
Absorbing light so completely means that it is almost impossible to make out the shape of what it is applied to since the viewer is robbed of the reflections that give depth clues. This can be useful for hiding unsightly cabling or mechanical systems in an unfinished ceiling.
The answer is none
“It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.”
Nigel Tufnel, Spinal Tap