Vantablack is a fascinating substance created over three years ago from carbon nanotubes. Its inventors made a claim so crazy it was easy to think it might be a hoax: the stuff could absorb nearly 100 percent of the light that touched its surface. But this bizarre innovation was real, and it even went on to be used as a coating for this incredibly expensive watch.
Researchers at Surrey NanoSystems in the United Kingdom couldn't keep away from the stuff and have created Vantablack 2.0. It's actually blacker, believe it or not. Even better than the original Vantablack demo above which completely flattened a 3-D object, the simple demo below makes clear this stuff has almost otherworldly light-absorbing properties.
"This is a new development of the Vantablack process," Surrey researchers wrote when they posted this video last year, "It's resulted in a coating so black that our spectrometers can't measure it! Even running a high power laser pointer across it hardly reflects anything back to the viewer."
Their unintentionally ominous conclusion? "We have never before made a material so 'black' that we can't measure it on our UV-VIS or MID-IR spectrometers."
If you find this stuff unsettling, you're not alone. There was concern the original Vantablack was potentially dangerous.
Oddly, the fear was not that it might present a portal through which aliens from another dimension could enter our universe, but that the nanotubes could come loose and cause respiratory problems.
Apparently Vantablack 2.0 is far less likely to be dangerous and can be used to coat surfaces safely, according to the researchers.
We're sure this is great news for more high-end watchmakers and even electronics manufacturers, but we hope ninja assassins are paying close attention as well.