British company Surrey NanoSystems has outdone itself.
Researchers there made the blackest material ever back in 2014, called Vantablack, and now they’ve made a material that’s even blacker.
In a YouTube video the researchers posted March 4 (and we found via ScienceAlert), they run a red laser across the solid material to show just how black it is.
You can see how the material absorbs almost all of the light, reflecting nothing detectable back to our eyes:
They make Vantablack by tightly packing carbon nanotubes — rods of carbon that are much, much thinner than any human hair — so close together that light gets trapped inside, ScienceAlert reports.
Researchers say their new material is so black that even their spectrometers (machines that record colors and light) can’t measure its darkness. It’s likely higher than the original Vantablack, which could absorbed 99.96% of the light that hit it.
To be clear, Vantablack isn’t paint and is unlikely to be as durable, too. Even a little bit of water can mess up other ultra-black materials made of nanomaterials — though the original Vantablack seems to hold up pretty well to dunking in water as well as liquid nitrogen.
Surrey NanoSystems isn’t just making blacker and blacker materials to set records. They’ve tested Vantablack to see if it could withstand going into space. There, it could be used to calibrate NASA’s powerful cameras to take more accurate photos of our universe. (Artists are also interested in using the black material.)
Maybe the blackest material could help us see through the darkness.