Blog: Leonie BarrieScientists fashion blackest-ever material

Leonie Barrie | 18 July 2014

The quest for deeper and deeper black dyes has long preoccupied the textile industry - but scientists in the UK now claim to have fashioned what may be the blackest material in the universe.

British nanotech company Surrey NanoSystems says its new Vantablack absorbs 99.96% of all light that hits it - believed to be the highest-ever recorded - whereas conventional black fabric absorbs between 85% and 98% of light.

The material is made up of millions of carbon nanotubes, which absorb any light that hits them. And the effect to the naked eye is that the substance appears perfectly flat.

While this might sound like the perfect solution for the ultimate slimming little black dress, Surrey NanoSystem's Steve Northam told CNN that a Vantablack dress would make the wearer's contours invisible -looking more like a two-dimensional cardboard cut out.

Instead, the "blackest black material" will be used in the military and space sectors, where it can help air-borne cameras, telescopes and infrared scanning systems work more efficiently by reducing stray light.

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