MIT scientists create the blackest black that has ever blacked

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Engineers at MIT have created a material that’s so black it set a new blackness record.

This new ultrablack material, reported by MIT News Thursday, is made from vertically aligned carbon nanotubes grown on chlorine-etched aluminum foil and it captures 99.995% of light, making it about 10 times blacker than the previous record holder, Vantablack.

To show how the material eats light, MIT artist-in-residence Diemut Strebe collaborated with MIT engineer Brian Wardle to coat a 16.78-carat natural yellow diamond in the yet-to-be-named material. It basically makes the whole diamond disappear; there are no discernible features in the photo above.

Right now, the diamond is on display at the New York Stock Exchange as a part of a new art exhibition

One of the interesting things about the new blackest material is that the engineers created it unintentionally. Wardle and MIT postdoc Kehang Cui were working on figuring out different ways to grow carbon nanotubes on conductive materials like aluminum.

During one particular experiment where they were testing ways to remove the oxide layer around aluminum for more efficient growth, the scientists noticed how shockingly dark the color was. It would be hard not to notice the blackest material ever seen.

Material this dark can be used for things like star shade in space which would protect a telescope from receiving too much intense light.

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