Surrey NanoSystems

Vantablack is the world’s blackest material and now researchers have made it even darker. The new material will be used to make the inside of space telescopes pitch black so that the telescope cameras can take super-sharp images of distant and weak stars.

In 2014, researchers from Surrey NanoSystems developed the material Vantablack that absorbs 99.96 percent of all visible light that hits it. The new material was thus the world’s ‘blackest black’.

Now, the researchers are back with an even blacker enhanced edition of the material so dark that even their own instruments cannot measure how black it is.

The light is caught in a forest of nanotubes Vantablack consists of a dense forest of nanotubes of carbon attached to aluminum foil.

Each tube is 3,500 times thinner than a human hair and is so tightly packed that one billion nanotubes occupy every square centimeter.

When the material is hit by light, only a fraction of the light is reflected. Most of the light disappears between the tubes caught and reflected thrown around until converted into heat.



The material is good news for astronomers struggling with light pollution when looking at distant stars. Unwanted light often hit the telescope and make the measurements less accurate.

Therefore, the interior of optical telescopes in space often has a dark coating that absorbs the false light before it reaches the camera.

Since ‘vantablack’ is 17 times less reflective than the coating in the Hubble telescope, the future telescope will be able to measure distant stars much more accurately using the new and improved blacker than black.