Material so black that you can’t see its surface


Physicists in the UK have developed an almost alien-like material that absorbs so much light that it sets a new world recording for distorting all “but 0.035 per cent of visual light.

Made out of carbon nanotubes that are each 10,000 times thinner than a human hair, ‘Vantablack‘ absorbs as much as 99.965% of all radiation, making it the blackest substance known. When looking at this unusual material, the human eye can’t process what it’s seeing other than a seemingly depthless abyss, where shapes and edges are completely lost.

What most people don’t realize is that our eyes actually see the world in 2D. The perception of our surroundings in 3D is the result of brain processes that collect and process information collected by the eyes. Vantablack essentially confuses this process by absorbing so much light that you are unable to see the edges and surface of an object coated with the substance. For example, in the featured image above, Vantablack absorbs so much light that you can’t see the ridges and valleys of the foil.

It appears to be going through the plastic tray. It’s almost like your vision is being Photoshopped.

Recently described in the journal Optics Express, Vantablack will be useful in space where calibrating space telescopes require minimal interference from light. These densely packed nano tubes will also help minimize the contamination of sensitive imaging systems. But creating an illusion of depthless black is not all Vantablack is known for. Able to conduct heat seven and a half times more effectively than copper and a tensile strength 10 times that of steel, Vantablack is a fascinating material for many reasons. And of course, the US military is looking into using the material for, no doubt, a variety of stealth application purposes. Yay, invisible robots to slaughter humans.

These new materials, they are pretty much as black as we can get, almost as close to a black hole as we could imagine.Stephen Westland, professor at Leeds University

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A self-taught writer with some college (a nice way of saying that he didn't graduate), Nate fell in love with pocket billiards in his mid teens, and has spent more than half of his life as a student of the sport. Yes, it's a sport. He will argue incessantly if someone claims otherwise. He also loves video games, his favorite game being Dark Souls, followed by Dark Souls as a close second, and The Last of Us being his fourth favorite game (Dark Souls is his third favorite game). He has a tendency to ramble on when you strike up a conversation with him, so asking him for a short bio is a dangerously boring proposition and not recommended. Otherwise he tends to keep to himself. He is also an editor and founding member of Tech Gen Mag, living in southern California.

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