Engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have produced the blackest black material to date, 10 times blacker than previous record-black materials.
Yet unnamed, it is composed of vertically aligned microscopic filaments of carbon and is capable to capture 99.96 percent of incoming light from every angle. The new limit becomes to design a material that absorbs 100 percent of light. "Our material is 10 times blacker than anything that's ever been reported, but I think the blackest black is a constantly moving target," Brian Wardle, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, said. To demonstrate the material's ability, scientists covered a 16.78-carat natural yellow diamond with the carpet of nanotubes, causing the diamond to disappear. The team created the new coating accidentally, while trying to design an improved process for growing carbon nanotubes on surfaces like aluminum foil.
The experiment with diamond
Having the material is not always the same to have the knowledge which explains things. Additional research is needed to determine exactly how the new material absorbs so much light. It’s believed this discovery could one day be used to help astronomers see actual black holes, by applying the material to telescope-mounted shades that help reduce glare from the stars.