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The darkest material on Earth has become even darker

There is none more black than the new Vantablack.
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When Surrey NanoSystems introduced the original Vantablack, the company said the carbon nanotube material is capable of absorbing 99.96 percent of light that touches it. It's so dark, it can fool your eyes into seeing a smooth surface even when the nanotubes were actually grown on crumpled foil (seriously -- watch the video below the fold). Well, the new version of Vantablack is darker than that. In fact, Surrey can't even give us the percentage of light that gets absorbed, because its spectrometers can't measure it.

In this video below (and the GIF above), you can see the material engulf the laser pointer in darkness when it moves across:

This one's the older version, which is still so dark, looking at it is like peering into the abyss:

Vantablack has a lot of potential applications, especially in the military and space sector. It could, for instance, be used to coat stealth vehicles. A team of Utah State University researchers found a rather novel use for it, though. They used the material to create an extremely absorbent urinal cake -- a black hole that sucks in your pee.

In this article: design, science
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