From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Other names
  • Activated carbon high density skeleton
  • Multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)
  • Vantablack S-VIS
  • Vantablack S-IR
Appearance Solid black coating
Density 2.5 mg/cm3
Melting point >3,000 °C (5,430 °F; 3,270 K)
GHS labelling:
GHS07: Exclamation mark
H319, H335
P261, P281, P305+P351+P338
NIOSH (US health exposure limits):
REL (Recommended)
<1 μg/m3 over an 8-hour TWA
Safety data sheet (SDS) CAS 308068-56-6
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Wrinkled aluminium foil with a portion—equally wrinkled—coated in Vantablack[3]

Vantablack is a brand name for a class of super-black coatings with total hemispherical reflectances (THR) below 1.5% in the visible spectrum. The coatings were invented by Ben Jensen, who first publicly unveiled them in July 2014,[4] and commercialised by the scientific team from Surrey NanoSystems. The original Vantablack coating was grown from a chemical vapour deposition process (CVD) and is claimed to be the "world's darkest material", absorbing up to 99.965% of visible light perpendicular to the material at 663 nm.[5][6] The coatings are unique in that they are not only super-black but that they retain uniform light absorption from almost all viewing angles. Original CVD Vantablack is no longer manufactured for commercial applications as it has been superseded by Vantablack spray coatings that offer similar optical performance in key parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.[7]

The name is a combination of the acronym VANTA (vertically aligned nanotube arrays)[8] and the color black. As of 2022 Vantablack coatings are very costly,[9] and cannot be supplied to private individuals, and samples are only available for applications considered "valid" by the supplier.[10]


Vantablack grown on metal foil

CVD Vantablack is composed of a forest of vertical carbon nanotubes "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 as heat.[11]

CVD 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.[11] Darker materials are possible: in 2019, MIT engineers developed a CVD material which reflects a tenth of the amount of light that Vantablack reflects.[12]

The outgassing and particle fallout levels of Vantablack are low compared to similar substances, which makes it more commercially viable. Vantablack also has greater resistance to mechanical vibration, and has greater thermal stability.[13]


Early development was carried out at the National Physical Laboratory in the UK;[14] the term "Vanta" was coined some time later.[15] Vertically aligned nanotube arrays are sold by several firms, including NanoLab,[16] Santa Barbara Infrared[17] and others.[18]

The Vantablack name is trademarked by Surrey NanoSystems Limited,[19] and has been referenced in three patents registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.[20]


As one of the darkest materials, Vantablack has many potential applications, such as preventing stray light from entering telescopes, and improving the performance of infrared cameras both on Earth and in space.[18]

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.[21] Surrey NanoSystems also markets a line of non-nanotube sprayable paints known as Vantablack VBx that are even easier to apply.[22]

Artistic and decorative use[edit]

BMW X6 Vantablack at Frankfurt Motor Show 2019

Vantablack S-VIS, a sprayable paint that uses randomly aligned carbon nanotubes and very high levels of absorption from ultraviolet to the terahertz spectrum, has been exclusively licensed to Anish Kapoor's studio for artistic use.[23]

Nanolab, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based carbon nanotube manufacturer, partnered with Boston artist Jason Chase to release a nanotube-based black paint called Singularity Black.[24] 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.[25][26]

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.[27]

Vantablack VBx2, a variant of the non-nanotube Vantablack VBx that is optimized for large area spraying, was used in a "Vantablack pavilion" at the 2018 Winter Olympics.[28]

BMW unveiled an X6 concept with Vantablack paint at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2019; however, the company does not plan on producing the color on production models of the X6.[29]

French musician Gesaffelstein used Vantablack VBx2 as part of his stage decoration during his Coachella 2019 performance.[30][31]

Commercial production[edit]

The first orders were delivered in July 2014.[18] In 2015, production was scaled up to meet demand in the aerospace and defense sectors.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Safety Data Sheet Vantablack S-VIS and S-IR" (PDF). Surrey NanoSystems. 27 February 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  2. ^ "CAS 7440-44-0". European Chemicals Agency. 8 July 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Video showing both sides of aluminium foil". 2016-02-29. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  4. ^ "Who's behind art's dark little secret, Vantablack?". British GQ. 2017-08-04. Retrieved 2022-04-25.
  5. ^ "Vantablack: U.K. Firm Shows Off 'World's Darkest Material'". 15 July 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  6. ^ Guinness World Records: Darkest manmade substance, Guinness World Records 19 October 2015
  7. ^ "About | Surrey NanoSystems".
  8. ^ Jackson, Jeremy J.; Puretzky, Alex A.; More, Karren L.; Rouleau, Christopher M.; Eres, Gyula; Geohegan, David B. (3 Dec 2010). "Pulsed Growth of Vertically Aligned Nanotube Arrays with Variable Density". Nano. 4 (12): 7573–7581. doi:10.1021/nn102029y. PMID 21128670.
  9. ^ "Vantablack is the New Black - Vantablack Paint". Retrieved 21 April 2022. Marieke, Coating Expert, 4 April 2017: Vantablack paint is incredibly expensive right now and not sold by the paint bucket.
  10. ^ "Purchasing". Surrey NanoSystems. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Vantablack, the world's darkest material, is unveiled by UK". South China Morning Post - World. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  12. ^ "MIT engineers develop "blackest black" material to date | MIT News". 2019-09-12. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  13. ^ Kuittinen, Tero (14 July 2014). "Scientists have developed a black so deep it makes 3D objects look flat". Yahoo! News Canada. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  14. ^ Theocharous, E.; Deshpande, R.; Dillon, A. C.; Lehman, J. (2006). "Evaluation of a pyroelectric detector with a carbon multiwalled nanotube black coating in the infrared". Applied Optics. 45 (6): 1093–7. Bibcode:2006ApOpt..45.1093T. doi:10.1364/AO.45.001093. PMID 16523768.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "NanoLab multiwalled carbon nanotubes, aligned carbon nanotube arrays, nanoparticles, nanotube paper,dispersant, nanowires". Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  17. ^ "Vantablack-S". SBIR. Santa Barbara Infrared Inc. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  18. ^ a b c Howard, Jacqueline (14 July 2014). "This May Be The World's Darkest Material Yet". Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  19. ^ "VantaBlack Trademark of Surrey NanoSystems Limited - Registration Number 4783953 - Serial Number 79156544 :: Justia Trademarks". Retrieved 2017-03-31.Surrey NanoSystems: Home
  20. ^ "Results of Search in US Patent Collection db for: Vantablack: 3 patents.". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  21. ^ "Vantablack S-IR". Surrey NanoSystems.
  22. ^ "Vantablack VBx Coatings". Surrey NanoSystems.
  23. ^ "Art Fight! The Pinkest Pink Versus the Blackest Black". Wired. 2017-06-22. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Meet Singularity Black, the Blackest Paint on the Market". Hyperallergic. 2017-08-11. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
  25. ^ "Nanolab releases own extremely black paint to rival Anish Kapoor's Vantablack". Dezeen. 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
  26. ^ "Art Fight! The Pinkest Pink Versus the Blackest Black". WIRED. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
  27. ^ "FAQs". Surrey NanoSystems. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  28. ^ "Asif Khan reveals super-dark Vantablack pavilion for Winter Olympics 2018". Dezeen. 7 February 2018.
  29. ^ Dorian, Drew (4 September 2019). "BMW X6 Gets a Blackest of Black Treatment with Paint That Eats Light". Car and Driver. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  30. ^ "Gesaffelstein". Surrey NanoSystems. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  31. ^ Deahl, Dani (2019-04-24). "How Gesaffelstein's Coachella set tricked minds with the world's blackest black". The Verge. Retrieved 2021-02-17.

External links[edit]