Science

Something Bizarre Happens When You Shine A Laser On The World's Blackest Material [Video]

by Baz Edwards

Watch a video of the world's blackest material and see what happens when you shine lasers at it.

Something Bizarre Happens When You Shine A Laser On The World's Blackest Material [Video]

This material is so bizarre, it resembles something that aliens might have left behind and swallows up light like a black hole. The material is so black, that it is completely immeasurable by scientists and doesn't reflect light at all, which is highly unusual because normally when you shine light on something, you can see the reflection immediately.

This new material is called Vantablack and it actually absorbs all light apart from 0.035 percent of it, so to us it renders the light invisible, and behaves almost like an invisibility cloak for visible light.

In the video, when British company Surrey NanoSystems shone a powerful laser over the material, the light completely disappeared.

So where does the light go? Well basically, the material swallows it up and its becomes trapped within the material. The material is made up of a millions of carbon nanotubes and each one has a diameter of about 20 nanometres (~3,500 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair). Even just 1 cm squared of this material is made up of around 1,000 million of these nanotubes.

When the light is shined on the material, it enters the gaps between each carbon nanotube, and the light essentially bounces around and struggles to escape. "The near total lack of reflectance creates an almost perfect black surface." say the researchers. "To understand this effect, try to visualise walking through a forest in which the trees are around 3 km tall instead of the usual 10 to 20 metres. It’s easy to imagine just how little light, if any, would reach you."

When the light is shined on the material, it enters the gaps between each carbon nanotube, and the light essentially bounces around and struggles to escape. "The near total lack of reflectance creates an almost perfect black surface," say the researchers. "To understand this effect, try to visualise walking through a forest in which the trees are around 3 km tall instead of the usual 10 to 20 metres. It’s easy to imagine just how little light, if any, would reach you."

This material is awesome and according to CNN, it can also make people look like 2D cardboard cutouts if it was to be made into a black dress! So far though, they've only grown this material on foil but the company does plan to grow it on different materials and 3D shapes in the future.

H/T: Science Alert

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