This Photo Isn’t Photoshopped, It’s Just The World’s Blackest Material!

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“Vantablack” is the blackest material known to science. It was invented by British researchers in 2014 and capable of absorbing 99.96 percent of ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light!

Since the first invention of Vantablack, the team behind the invention - from Surrey NanoSystems - has upped its blackness, and in early 2016, announced that no spectrometer in the world was powerful enough to measure how much light it absorbs.

"Even running a high power laser pointer across it barely reflects anything back to the viewer," the researchers explain. "We have never before made a material so 'black' that it can't be picked up on our spectrometers in the infrared."

So how does it actually work?

In its original blackest form, Vantablack isn't a paint, pigment, or fabric, but is actually a special coating made from millions of carbon nanotubes, each one measuring around 20 nanometres (roughly 3,500 times smaller than a human hair) by 14 to 50 microns. To put that in perspective, 1 nanometre equals 0.001 microns.

When light hits this arrangement, it enters the gaps between the nanotubes and is almost instantly trapped and absorbed as it bounces between them.

Here's what it looks like when sprayed on a three-dimensional face mask, rendering all the features non-existent to our eyes.

In order to make it more marketable, the team has now released a 'spray-on' form, which isn't quite as black - it only blocks 99.8 percent of ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light - but that's enough to make three-dimensional objects appear distinctly two-dimensional. 

Just look at this thing!

"The near total lack of reflectance creates an almost perfect black surface," say the researchers.

"To understand this effect, try to visualize walking through a forest in which the trees are around 3 km tall instead of the usual 10 to 20 meters. It's easy to imagine just how little light, if any, would reach you."

Here’s a comparison video of regular black paint and Vantablack, in case you still weren’t convinced!

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