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Back to Black – In its Darkest Form


Scientists have produced this material that is so black it absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of visual light – a new world record. It is so black to the human eye that it cannot understand what it is seeing, as all shapes and contours are hidden. The colour also creates a type of illusion where if it was used to make one of Coco Chanel’s little black dresses, the wearer’s head and limbs would appear to float around a frock-shaped hole. 

The Nanotube material is named Vantablack and it has been grown on sheets of aluminium foil by a Newhaven based company.

Ben Jensen of Surrey NanoSytsems which makes Vantablack was asked about the prospect of a little black dress, he said it would be very expensive, the cost of the material is one of the things he was unable to reveal.

“You would lose all features of the dress. It would just be something black passing through,” he said.

Vantablack, which was described in the journal Optics Express and will be launched at the Farnborough international air show this week.

Stephan Westland, professor of colour science and technology at Leeds University commented that ‘traditional black was actually a colour of light and scientists were now pushing it to something it to something out of this world.’

Stephan also voiced his opinion that he completely disagrees with the thoughts that black is the absence of light. He also stated these materials are pretty much as black as you are going to get.


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