Activated carbon high density skeleton
|Appearance||Solid black coating|
|Melting point||>3,000 °C (5,430 °F; 3,270 K)|
|Safety data sheet||CAS 308068-56-6|
|GHS Signal word||Warning|
|P261, P305+351+338, P281|
|NIOSH (US health exposure limits):|
|<1 μg/m3 over an 8-hour TWA|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Vantablack is a material developed by Surrey NanoSystems in the United Kingdom and is one of the darkest substances known, absorbing up to 99.965% of visible light (at 663 nm if the light is perpendicular to the material).
Vantablack is composed of a forest of vertical tubes "grown" on a substrate using a modified chemical vapor deposition process. When light strikes Vantablack, instead of bouncing off, it becomes trapped and is continually deflected amongst the tubes, eventually becoming absorbed and dissipating into heat.
Vantablack was an improvement over similar substances developed at the time. Vantablack absorbs up to 99.965% of visible light and can be created at 400 °C (752 °F). NASA had previously developed a similar substance that was grown at 750 °C (1,380 °F), so it required materials to be more heat resistant than Vantablack.
The outgassing and particle fallout levels of Vantablack are low, the high levels of which in similar substances in the past had limited their commercial utility. Vantablack also has greater resistance to mechanical vibration, and has greater thermal stability.
Early development was carried out at the National Physical Laboratory in the UK; the term "Vanta" was coined some time later. Vertically aligned nanotube arrays are sold by several firms, including NanoLab, Santa Barbara Infrared and others.
Being one of the darkest materials (for example, in 2019, MIT has developed a material which reflects 10 times less light), this substance has many potential applications, including preventing stray light from entering telescopes, and improving the performance of infrared cameras both on Earth and in space.
Vantablack may also increase the absorption of heat in materials used in concentrated solar power technology, as well as military applications such as thermal camouflage. Its emissivity and scalability support a wide range of applications.
In addition to directly growing aligned carbon nanotubes, Vantablack is made into two sprayable paints with randomly-oriented nanotubes, Vantablack S-VIS and Vantablack S-IR with better infrared absorption than the former. These paints require a special license, a temperature of 100–280 °C, and vacuum post-processing. Surrey NanoSystems also markets a line of non-nanotube sprayable paints known as Vantablack VBx that are even easier to apply.
Artistic and decorative use
Vantablack S-VIS, a sprayable paint that uses randomly-aligned carbon nanotubes and only has high absorption in the visible light band, has been exclusively licensed to Anish Kapoor's studio for artistic use.
Nanolab, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based carbon nanotube manufacturer, partnered with Boston artist Jason Chase to release a nanotube-based black paint called Singularity Black. During the first showing of the colour, Chase, alluding to Vantablack, stated that "its possibilities have been stunted by not being available to experiment with," and Singularity Black's release was important to create access.
 The manufacturer claims that Vantablack is subject to export controls by the UK, and due to its physical requirements and thermal characteristics, the original Vantablack is not practical for use in many types of art.
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- Guinness World Records: Darkest manmade substance, Guinness World Records 19 October 2015
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- Theocharous, S.P.; Theocharous, E.; Lehman, J.H. (2012). "The evaluation of the performance of two pyroelectric detectors with vertically aligned multi-walled carbon nanotube coatings". Infrared Physics & Technology. 55 (4): 299–305. Bibcode:2012InPhT..55..299T. doi:10.1016/j.infrared.2012.03.006.
- "NanoLab multiwalled carbon nanotubes, aligned carbon nanotube arrays, nanoparticles, nanotube paper,dispersant, nanowires". www.nano-lab.com. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
- "Vantablack-S". SBIR. Santa Barbara Infrared Inc. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
- Howard, Jacqueline (14 July 2014). "This May Be The World's Darkest Material Yet". Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "VantaBlack Trademark of Surrey NanoSystems Limited - Registration Number 4783953 - Serial Number 79156544 :: Justia Trademarks". trademarks.justia.com. Retrieved 2017-03-31.Surrey NanoSystems: Home
- "Results of Search in US Patent Collection db for: Vantablack: 3 patents.". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- "MIT engineers develop "blackest black" material to date | MIT News". News.mit.edu. 2019-09-12. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
- "Vantablack S-IR". Surrey NanoSystems.
- "Vantablack VBx Coatings". Surrey NanoSystems.
- "Art Fight! The Pinkest Pink Versus the Blackest Black". Wired. 2017-06-22. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
- "Meet Singularity Black, the Blackest Paint on the Market". Hyperallergic. 2017-08-11. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
- "Nanolab releases own extremely black paint to rival Anish Kapoor's Vantablack". Dezeen. 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
- "Art Fight! The Pinkest Pink Versus the Blackest Black". WIRED. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
- "FAQs". Surrey NanoSystems. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
- "Asif Khan reveals super-dark Vantablack pavilion for Winter Olympics 2018". Dezeen. 7 February 2018.
- Dorian, Drew. "BMW X6 Gets a Blackest of Black Treatment with Paint That Eats Light". Car and Driver. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
- H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Concept Vantablack: The Time-Telling Void  
- Surrey NanoSystems YouTube
- Anthony, Sebastian (July 14, 2014). "It's like staring 'into a black hole': World's darkest material will be used to make very stealthy aircraft, better telescopes". Extreme Tech.
Even when you bend or crumple the Vantablack, the material — or rather, the dark nothingness created by the material — [still] looks completely flat