What do you do with a $ 2 million natural yellow diamond? When you're at MIT, coat it with a wild, high-tech material that makes every object look like it fell into a black hole.
The coated diamond is today a work of art called The Redemption of Vanity, a collaboration between Diemut Strebe, Artist-in-Residence at the MIT Center for the Arts, Science and Technology, and Brian Wardle, Professor of Aerospace at MIT ,
The diamond will be on the New York Stock Exchange until November 25 to give viewers the opportunity to view the new carbon nanotube material (CNT) to see the MIT in action.
"The unification of extreme opposites in an object and the particular aesthetic features of the CNTs have excited my imagination for this art project," Strebe said in an MIT publication (PDF).
MIT described carbon nanotubes as "microscopic" carbon filaments, like a flaky forest of tiny trees grown on an aluminum foil. "The foil captures more than 99.96 percent of the incident light, making it the blackest material that has been known for a long time," says a Thursday press release.
Superdark carbon nanotube materials are of interest for optical devices and aerospace applications. The best known "blackest black" carbon nanotube material comes from the British company Surrey NanoSystems, which introduced 2014 Vantablack . Since then, Surrey has developed a sprayable version of Vantablack Wardle's MIT team compared its CNT material with known data on other carbon nanotube materials, including Vantablack. Wardle told CNET that MIT's material reflects less light than previous materials, making it the blackest black champion.
Although it is tempting to put the CNT material and Vantablack in a cage to fight it, it can be difficult for the human eye to figure out which one is really more black. Instead of competitors, it may be better to consider them as options.