New version of Vantablack coating even blacker than original

April 11, 2017 by Bob Yirka, report

Credit: Surrey Nanosystems
(—U.K.-based Surrey Nanosystems has announced that it has improved on the original Vertically Aligned Nanotube Array BLACK (Vantablack coating) which the company claimed to be the blackest material ever made. The original Vantablack was found to absorb 99.96 percent of visible (and ultraviolet and infrared) light—the new Vantablack is darker—so much so that it cannot be measured by a spectrometer.

Vantablack is made by chemically growing a network of carbon nanotubes (each of them is just 20 nanometers in diameter and approximately 14 microns to 50 microns in length) in a high-temperature chamber, creating a forest of sorts on a base such as aluminum—the nanotubes are so small and dense that the company reports that over a billion of them exist on a 0.1 in square patch. The material is then applied as a coating to another object—light hitting the coating is absorbed because it is bounced around between the instead of being reflected back. Such materials have an eerie look, as they appear to be missing features normally seen in other black . The result is striking—coated objects appear is if they have been photoshopped to remove all traces of contours and other features. It is only by changing the angle of objects coated with the material that features are visible.

Nanosystems has also reportedly developed a spray version of Vantablack (Vantablack S-VIS.) which should make the coating more accessible to anyone who wants to use it, though it is not quite as black.

Since it was first developed three years ago and marketed, artists and manufacturers have shown interest in using the coating to create unique-looking products—a watch from Contemporaine du Temps, for example, designed by British artist, Anish Kapoor, features Vantablack on its dial and minute hand—it adds a degree of depth to the watch that other watches do not have.

Representatives for Nanosystems have told the press that they believe that Vantablack could also be used to improve the performance of cameras and sensors—the only drawback is that the is still too delicate for use in commercial applications, though it has been used on some star-tracking satellites.

Credit: Surrey Nanosystems

Explore further: Surrey NanoSystems has "super black" material

Related Stories

Surrey NanoSystems has "super black" material

July 15, 2014

( —A British company says it has scored a breakthrough in the world's darkest material. Surrey NanoSystems describes its development as not just a black material but super-black. They are calling it Vantablack, ...

Graphene coating that changes color when deformed or cracked

April 10, 2017

(—A team of researchers at Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research in Germany has developed a graphene coating that changes color when deformed or cracked. In their paper published in the journal Material Horizons, ...

Carbon nanotube forest camouflages 3-D objects

November 21, 2011

Carbon nanotubes, tiny cylinders composed of one-atom-thick carbon lattices, have gained fame as one of the strongest materials known to science. Now a group of researchers from the University of Michigan is taking advantage ...

Recommended for you

What rising seas mean for local economies

February 15, 2019

Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots.

A river of stars in the solar neighborhood

February 15, 2019

Astronomy & Astrophysics publishes the work of researchers from the University of Vienna, who have found a river of stars, a stellar stream in astronomical parlance, covering most of the southern sky. The stream is relatively ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (2) Apr 11, 2017
Paging Hotblack Desiato and the stuntship from Disaster Area....
not rated yet Apr 17, 2017
How much radiation does this stuff absorb in the radar-frequency range?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.