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UK firm makes alien-like material that's so dark it's barely visible

A British company, Surrey Nanosystems, has unveiled a material so dark, Vantablack, that it appears to distort nearby objects
By: Tamlin Magee | Science, Space & Robotics News | Posted: Jul 14, 2014 9:04 pm

A brand new material made from carbon nanotubes is so densely black that it isn't entirely visible to the human eye, if a British company's research is to be believed.




The maker of the material, Surrey NanoSystems, built the so-called Vantablack out of a coating comprising carbon nanotubes. According to the researchers, it absorbs just 0.035 percent of visible light, causing much of the light shined on the material to never appear again. As the company's CTO Ben Jensen explains: "It's like black, like a hole, like there's nothing there," he said. "It just looks so strange." Because it absorbs so much light the material can even distort the appearance of objects around it.


Right now the applications for such a material are unclear - but surprise, surprise, it seems like there could be military uses for Vantablack that it's not allowed to talk about at this point. The material will be publicly launched at Britain's Farnborough International Airshow this week - where show-goers will be free to take a look at it, if they can find it at all.


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