American engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed the darkest material yet, even darker than the Vantablack, which has been recognized since December 2018 as the darkest artificial material in the world.
The new material (CNT) is made up of millions of carbon nanotubes, and it would be up to 10 times blacker than the others before it.
It is made of vertically aligned tubes that capture not less than 99.995% of the light received.
By comparison, the Vantablack created by Surrey NanoSystems absorbs 99.965% of the light that reaches its surface.
Thus, if the CNT contained bumps or ridges, or features of any nature whatsoever, regardless of the angle of observation, these features would be invisible, hidden in a void of black.
Engineer Brian Wardle describes his invention as a fuzzy forest of tiny trees that grew on an aluminum foil surface.
This material could be very useful in astronomy, since it could eliminate stray light and thus help space telescopes to detect celestial objects such as exoplanets.
Exhibited in New York
The new material is currently on display at the New York Stock Exchange in The Redemption of Vanity by artist Diemut Strebe.
For the exhibition, a 16.78-carat diamond worth more than $ 2.5 million was coated with ultra-thin material.
In fact, the human eye literally sees nothing when it looks at this material and perceives no dimension.
Any object covered with this material loses all its plasticity and appears completely flat, reduced to a black silhouette.
In flagrant contradiction with this, we see that a diamond, although made of the same element [carbon], produces the most intense reflection of light on Earth , explains the artist.
Because of the very high absorption qualities of light, any object, in this case a large diamond, becomes a kind of black hole without shadows.
The new material is described in Applied Materials and Interfaces.