When the folks at the National Physical Laboratory set out to manufacture the blackest black in the universe - something rivaled only by an actual black hole - nobody fully understood the implications. Today, the marvel that is Vantablack is finally coming to light. Technically, though, it’s actually absorbing light at a rate that was previously thought to be impossible.
So, what is Vantablack? For starters, it’s the world’s blackest material, doing the work of crazy space substances right here on Earth. Trademarked by Surrey NanoSystems Limited, this laboratory-grown substance isn’t exactly a color. It is a light-absorber so powerful that it actually creates darkness and distortion across everything it touches. The real-life applications for such a material are endless and pretty fantastical - some say it can even make airplanes disappear.
What we do know about this science fiction-esque substance is that it is comprised of vertically aligned nanotube arrays that bounce light particles off of one another until the light is swallowed up and completely disappears. And when Vantablack is applied to a three dimensional object, the object flattens to appear two dimensional, losing all of its features. We also know that this sort of substance could enhance our view of the solar system, allowing us to see planets and stars that we never even knew existed. Here’s a look at the many shades of Vantablack, and how this alien substance will probably (definitely) impact our planet’s future.