World’s darkest material is 'blackest black' ever created

A 16.78-carat natural yellow diamond has been coated in the material

A 16.78-carat natural yellow diamond has been coated in the material

Of course the potential uses for super-black materials go far beyond art exhibits. Or maybe BMW will want to paint a auto with it.

MIT engineers have cooked up a material made of carbon nanotubes that is 10 times blacker than anything that has previously been reported. Best yet, they weren't even trying.

Comprised of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes that look like a fuzzy forest of tiny trees, the material was grown on a surface of chlorine-etched aluminium foil.

The researchers were looking at ways to grow CNTs on electrically conductive materials like aluminium, and it was during these experiments that they noticed the blackness of the materials they were growing on specially treated aluminium foil. The material's color came as a surprise. “So I thought I should measure the optical reflectance of the sample.

According to the researchers, who described the coating in a study published September 12 in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, this newfound nanotube structure is the blackest of black materials ever created, absorbing more than 99.996% of any light that touches it.

A few years ago, Surrey Nanosystems created a similar material called 'Vantablack' with it claiming 99.965% of light being absorbed, and later on, they broke their own record by creating something that couldn't be under a spectrometer, i.e.it absorbed 99.99% of light. "Someone will find a blacker material, and eventually we'll understand all the underlying mechanisms, and will be able to properly engineer the ultimate blac", he added.

In the meantime, the new record-setting black is on show at an art exhibition in NY called The Redemption of Vanity.

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MIT artist-in-residence Diemut Strebe has worked with the researchers to coat a 16.78-carat natural yellow diamond, estimated to be worth $2 million, in the ultrablack material.

They say the material could be used in artwork, or to help space telescopes spot distant galaxies by filtering out stray light that blocks the lens.

Wardle and Cui, who have applied for a patent on the technology, are making the new CNT process freely available to any artist to use for a noncommercial art project.

In the end, this new research has produced the world's blackest black to date, with "99.995 percent of incoming light" if incoming light is reflected from every angle.

The nanotubes, when assembled into a vertical "forest", can transform nearly all light into heat, according to some scientists.

Professor Brian Wardle said: 'CNT forests of different varieties are known to be extremely black, but there is a lack of mechanistic understanding as to why this material is the blackest.

The material is already gaining interest in the aerospace community. “Would you like to see an Earth orbiting another star?

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