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What is the darkest human-made substance?

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Asked by: Kate Clegg, Exeter


In 2014, researchers at UK-based Surrey NanoSystems unveiled Vantablack, a coating that absorbs up to 99.96 percent of light that falls onto it.

Vantablack is made up of millions of carbon nanotubes barely 200 atoms across, and it can be used to absorb stray light in the sensitive instruments of satellite observatories. When it is applied to ordinary objects, however, it creates the illusion of making them look totally flat. This is because no light reflects off an object coated with Vantablack so it’s impossible for our eyes to make out any three-dimensional features.

You can even buy a watch with a Vantablack dial!


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Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.


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