We’re all familiar with the colour black right? 

In fact some pedants might even argue that there is no such colour as black because black really means an absence of light.

However, fans of blackness might be excited to learn about the creation of a whole new type of black – and it’s the blackest black you can get.

A company called Surrey nanosystems has developed a super-black type of paint that has been officially recognised as the world’s darkest man-made substance.

Vantablack absorbs virtually all light (approximately 99 per cent) which means that it has all sorts of important scientific applications. But more excitingly is the fact that it looks so weird when applied to things – because it is just so black… when it is painted onto a three dimensional surface, it makes the thing look like a 2d black shape because the human eye struggles to make out any surface features. If you don’t believe me, have a gander at this clip on Youtube:

The new ‘paint’ is actually a ‘forest’ of equally spaced microscopic carbon nanotubes (Vantablack stands for Vertically Aligned Nanotube Array black) the tubes are arranged to allow photons (light rays) to enter the surface but instead of being bounced back to the viewer, the energy is reflected between the tubes before being converted into heat.

The upshot of all this amazing scientific endeavour is that the British artist Anish Kapoor was able to create a ‘cartoon’ hole entitled Descent into Limbo at the Serralves Museum in Portugal. 

What resembles a flat black circle on the floor of the museum is actually an 8ft deep hole – something which an unconvinced gallery goer was able to prove beyond doubt. The gallery goer ignored warning signs and stepped onto the hole and plummeted to the bottom – he is said to be recovering well – presumably sporting a large ‘loony tunes’ style bump on the top of his head in the process.

To find out more head over to Surrey nanosystems www.surreynanosystems.com where you can order some for the bedroom.

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