In 2014, British company Surrey Nanosystems blew minds all over the world after creating a material so dark it absorbs all but 0.036% of visual light and stops the human eye from being able to comprehend what it is seeing. The material is so dark that its creators had to come up with a whole new name for the colour: super-black.
Now – somehow – the team has managed to create something even blacker. Using a new development process, Surrey Nanosystems say they have created something "so black that our spectrometers can't measure it!"
To demonstrate its light-absorbing powers, the team runs a laser pointer over the material, which is completely consumed by it. "We have never before made a material so 'black' that it can't be picked up on our spectrometers in the infrared," the company adds.
The material, called Vantablack, is made from carbon nanotubes 10,000 times thinner than a human hair and is intended for use in high-performance infrared cameras, sensors, telescopes and other scientific instruments that require as little stray light as possible. There are also potential military applications for it, although Surrey Nanosystems is understandably hush-hush when it comes to details.
Unfortunately, Vantablack isn't freely available to buy for those hoping to turn everyday objects into veritable black holes or give their car the "gaping abyss" look. Surrey Nanosystems advises on its website: "Though this would undoubtedly result in an amazing looking motor, unfortunately the limitations of Vantablack in respect of direct impact or abrasion would make this an impractical proposition for most people. It would also be incredibly expensive."