This latest advanced material can make anything vanish into a black hole.

Thanks to Surrey Nano Systems, you can now spray paint any object and it will disappear into what looks like a flat black hole. They’ve achieved the impossible using a unique material made of carbon nanotubes called Vantablack. It is so unimaginably black that the human eye actually has trouble processing what it is seeing.

VANTA stands for Vertically Aligned NanoTube Array and is made by “growing” carbon nanotubes on a metal surface. One nanotube is a billionth of a meter thick, or the width of three gold atoms. Light is trapped between the tubes, bouncing around until it’s absorbed (up to 99.96%) instead of reflecting back to our eye. So the only thing we can see is, literally, nothing. Visually, this can make 3D objects appear a flat black… blacker than black.

The possibilities of this new material have excited British architect Asif Khan who has decided to create an unmatched display in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, plunging spectators into a “schism of space.”

Khan wants visitors to fully experience Vantablack’s unique properties and is creating a building for this in the Olympic Park with four curved walls. With tiny lights as stars, the effect will feel like floating in deep space.

“It will be like you’re looking into the depths of space itself. As you approach the building that star field will grow to fill your entire field of view, and then you’ll enter as though you’re being absorbed into a cloud of blackness.”

Blacker than Black Ops

Since it’s development over 3 years ago, Vanta Black has been attracting aerospace engineers, architects, artists, electrical engineers, and more. The possibilities for new stealth drones, microchips, touch screens, ultra-light wiring, heat absorption, etc. are endless. This kind of new material gives innovators the kind of resource they’ve only been able to dream of before.

One of Surrey Nano Systems’ founders and the chief technology officer, Ben Jensen, of Surrey NanoSystems said,


“It’s almost like an alien material from “Star Trek.” Imagine a drinking straw, closed at one end, with a wall one-atom thick. This straw is one-ten-thousandth the diameter of a human hair, but it is 10 times stronger than steel, and 10 times better at conducting heat than copper. It’s been known to exhibit what is called ‘ballistic transport;’ electrons travel through it with almost no resistance. Vantablack packs billions of these straws together.”

I’d love to have a Vanta Black ninja suit but Ben says…

“When I read about making black ninja suits and black aircraft, I just laugh. It’s not a reasonable application.”

Okay, I’ll settle for a unicorn head trophy.

An object coated in Vantablack appears 2-dimensional and is difficult to perceive. Image Credit: Surrey NanoSystems