Best of 2014 // #95: Vantablack is the new black

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Best of 2014: Science - exoplanet

Imagine how black a black hole is. That’s the colour of Vantablack. In July of 2014, Surrey Nanosystems, a British company, publicly released a colour so black is absorbed 99.96 percent of the light that hits it, making it the most absorbent thing on the planet.

READ MORE // Scientists Have Confirmed the Existence of Gravitational Waves

This crazy colour, known as Vantablack, owes its absorption abilities to a series of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes – each 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. These nanotubes are suspended in plasma and coated onto any material, such as aluminium foil. These nanotubes are packed so tightly together that any light particles that hit them just bounce around between the rows until the nanotubes absorb them.

Vantablack - carbon Nanotubes
That’s not all Vantablack does however.

It can withstand the stresses from being launched into space by a rocket, extreme fluctuation in temperature and long-term vibrations. Defence contractors are especially excited to use Vantablack, in part due to its ruggedness and partly for it’s later potential use in stealth applications.

Vantablack

Astronomers, meanwhile hope it can improve the accuracy of their telescopes by reducing stray incoming light waves

There’s 99 more stories from 2014.  Check out the Best of 2014 series here

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