You might think you know black... But you don't know Black. Vantablack took the world by storm when it was shown to be the most light absorbent material ever created. It absorbs 99.96% of light, and was recently used by BMW to advertise a Vantablack covered SUV using nanotechnology to adhere the substance to the car.
But MIT was not to be outdone, and created the darkest substance ever found, though their feat was unintentional. Now they have put their discovery on display, in one of the most incredible exhibits possible.
This is Dark...
The hitherto unnamed substance is 10 times darker than any other material on Earth, absorbing 99.995% of light. In order to display the new material, they took a $2 million diamond and coated it with the substance, and displayed it in the New York Stock Exchange as an art exhibit called "The Redemption of Vanity".
Crazy Expensive Art Piece
Though the display is an art piece in every form, it is also an amazing proof of concept for this substance's potential scientific applications. From reducing glare for telescopes to sensing hitherto unseen frequencies and wavelengths near infrared, there are so many applications for this substance, and it was all an accident.
Researchers Brian Wardle and Diemut Strebe were attempting to grow carbon nanotubes on sheets of aluminum, in order to find new ways to boost their conductive properties. But the color of the resultant material surprised them, and they wanted to find out more.
Vantablack Isn't the Blackest Black
Though it has been advertised all over for it's light absorbing properties, it actually was not the blackest substance known before this accidental discovery. Accortding to a discovery in 2011 by the National Institute of Standards and Measure, Extra long "Cupcakes" of aligned CNTs can be used to block out almost all wavelengths of light.
This was designed to help researchers measure more exactly lasers that are in the terahertz range, which was unable to be calculated successfully before then.
They Still Aren't Sure What Happened
Like some of the best scientific discoveries in history, the researchers have no idea what they did exactly that resulted in the new "blackest material." They are hoping to study it and try to figure out exactly what properties caused the result, and if it can be repeated. The only thing left to wonder is, what does 100% blackness look like?