What we call black isn’t really that black. Color is defined by how much light is reflected or absorbed, and even the darkest of most commercially available materials still reflects some light. But what would you do with something that’s truly black? That bounces back almost no light at all? Something like Vantablack?
Vantablack is a new material from Surrey Nanosystems in the UK, and is comprised of millions of carbon nanotubes. As light hits it, the light particles get trapped in the densely packed, vertically aligned tubes. It absorbs 99.965% of incoming radiation. That means visible light, infrared, microwaves, and more.
Vantablack is destined for use in high-end scientific and military applications (and reportedly has a stiff cost), and when seen in person, has been likened to staring at a black hole.
While we probably won’t see this stuff available at B&H any time soon, it does get our brains turning over about what you could do with a totally non-reflective material—something which truly bounces back no light. Think about how precisely you could mask lights, without having to worry about unwanted light bouncing in. Or pure matte backdrops for product photography—giving you a perfectly isolated subject.
Meanwhile, Surrey Nanosystems is working on even blacker version of Vantablack, as well as ramping up production on the existing version. And if you’re desperate to get your hands on something super-black that you can actually purchase, according to ExtremeTech telescope interiors are often painted with a high-end paint called Aeroglaze Z306, and you can definitely find people willing to apply that for you