If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to peer in to the inky blackness of the sky and catch a sneak peek at a black hole you’ll know that you can’t ‘see’ it in the conventional sense. Since everything that wades in to the event horizon of a black hole, even light, can not escape its incredible force, the only signature a black hole carries is that it distorts light. There is no material on Earth that can equal the black hole’s tendency to absorb light but we certainly now have something that comes very close.
It’s called Vantablack. It’s a new material developed by Surrey NanoSystems, a British nanoelectronics company. The material is incredibly black; staring at Vantablack is like peering in to the inky blackness of space or down a deep well. It absorbs all but 0.035 percent of all light that falls on it.
The material was constructed out of carbon nanotubes that are a width of less than a human hair. Carbon nanotubes have been under the scrutiny of the science community for many of their astounding properties (such as their high tensile strength and light weight) and apparently they’re still chockfull of undiscovered capabilities.
The applications for Vantablack include calibrating cameras that peer in to the beginnings of the universe (by setting a new threshold for how black an object can be). The material has ten times the tensile strength of steel and seven times the heat conductivity of copper.