Engineers at MIT have created a material that is so black that it sets a new record in blackness.
This new ultra-black material, reported by MIT News Thursday, consists of vertically oriented carbon nanotubes grown on chlorine-etched aluminum foil. It absorbs 99.995% of the light, about ten times blacker than the previous record holder Vantablack.
To show how the material absorbs light, MIT-based artist Diemut Strebe, in collaboration with MIT engineer Brian Wardle, has a 16.78 carat natural yellow diamond in the material to be named. It basically makes the whole diamond disappear; There are no recognizable features in the photo above.
Currently, the diamond is exhibited as part of a new art exhibit on the New York Stock Exchange.
One of the interesting things about the new blackest material is that the engineers created it unintentionally. Wardle and MIT postdoc Kehang Cui worked on various methods to grow carbon nanotubes on conductive materials such as aluminum.
During a particular experiment, they investigated methods to remove the oxide layer around aluminum for more efficient growth, the scientists noted, and it was shockingly dark in color. It's hard not to notice the blackest material ever seen.
This dark material can be used for things like star shadows in outer space that would protect a telescope from too much intense light.