MIT engineers have created the blackest ever material, or to be more specific 10 times blacker than anything that has previously been reported. The yet to be named material is made from carbon nanotubes that were grown on the surface of aluminum foil. Why? The chlorine-etched aluminum foil captures more than 99.96% of any incoming light, making it the darkest on record. Read more for a video and additional information.
Why is it so dark? The research team isn’t entirely sure, but they suspects it may be due to the combination of etched aluminum and carbon nanotubes since the ‘forests’ of carbon nanotubes traps and then converts most incoming light to heat. For demonstration purposes, the team coated a 16.78-carat natural yellow diamond with the material, and as you can see, it ends up appearing as a flat, black void at first glance.
“There are optical and space science applications for very black materials, and of course, artists have been interested in black, going back well before the Renaissance. CNT forests of different varieties are known to be extremely black, but there is a lack of mechanistic understanding as to why this material is the blackest. That needs further study,” said Professor Wardle.