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Vantablack Is Blacker Than Your Black

Surrey NanoSystems’ Vantablack® can be applied to light-weight, temperature-sensitive structures such as aluminium whilst absorbing 99.96% of incident radiation; this is believed by Surrey to be the highest-ever recorded.


(Surrey NanoSystems’ Vantablack® )

Surrey NanoSystems’ Vantablack® is revolutionary in its ability to be applied to light-weight, temperature-sensitive structures such as aluminium whilst absorbing 99.96% of incident radiation, believed to be the highest-ever recorded.

“Vantablack is a major breakthrough by UK industry in the application of nanotechnology to optical instrumentation. For example, it reduces stray-light, improving the ability of sensitive telescopes to see the faintest stars, and allows the use of smaller, lighter sources in space-borne black body calibration systems. Its ultra-low reflectance improves the sensitivity of terrestrial, space and air-borne instrumentation”, said Ben Jensen, Chief Technology Officer, Surrey NanoSystems.

Vantablack has the highest thermal conductivity and lowest mass-volume of any material that can be used in high-emissivity applications. It has virtually undetectable levels of outgassing and particle fallout, thus eliminating a key source of contamination in sensitive imaging systems. It withstands launch shock, staging and long-term vibration, and is suitable for coating internal components, such as apertures, baffles, cold shields and Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) –type optical sensors.

Fans of Gene Wolf's Shadow of the Torturer recall fuligin, and the absolute black from Douglas Adams's novel Restaurant at the Edge of the Universe. Both were published in 1980.

Scientifiction fans, on the other hand, recall black coating from Doc Smith's 1942 novel Gray Lensman :

“Well, we have a black coating now that’s ninety-nine percent absorptive, and I don’t need ports or windows. At that, though, one percent reflection would be enough to give me away at a critical time. How’d it be to put a couple of the boys on that job? Have them put a decimal point after the ninety nine and see how many nines they can tack on behind it?”

From Surrey Nano Systems.

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