For the layman, black is simply black. Unlike other colours, pure black and white don’t have any shades; or do they? For our day to day basis, we might not be concerned with this minuscule difference, but for other purposes like building an ultra-sensitive space telescope, these things do matter. For example, to minimise reflections within the telescope as much as possible, you would require a material that is “blacker than black”.
In this regard, we saw Surrey NanoSystems release a colour coating called Vantablack two years ago; which is claimed to be the darkest material on the planet. And now expanding its applications, the material has been made available in a spray-on form as well.
The original Vantablack comprised of a mesh of light-absorbing carbon nanotubes and was applied to the required area/surface using a chemical vapour deposition process. It is called the blackest material since it can trap 99.965 percent of incoming light; enough to make 3D objects appear as two-dimensional voids when coated with the material.
Now the newer version available in spray paint known as Vantablack S-VIS is almost as good, for it can trap 99.8 percent of ultraviolet, visible and infrared light. To give you an idea, that’s 17 times more absorbent than the reflective black paint used in the Hubble telescope!
Company CTO Ben Jensen said in an interview, “The new sprayable version really does open up the possibility of applying super-black coatings in many more types of airborne or terrestrial applications. Possibilities include commercial products such as cameras, equipment requiring improved performance in a smaller form factor, as well as differentiating the look of products by means of the coating’s unique aesthetic appearance.”
That being said, the application of paint is still not as simple as any other conventional one, and still, it requires some “pre- and post-application steps” for achieving the desired results. The paint is also not very wear-resistant, so a glass or some other protective layer is recommended as a protection.
So if you need to paint something super black, you can go Surrey NanoSystems and let them paint it. Or you can also apply for licensing the technology for your own painting facilities.
Can you think of any day to day applications where the Vantablack S-VIS paint might be useful? Let us know in the comments’ section below!