The World's Darkest Substance: Vantablack

December 1, 2015 | Johannes Van Zijl

Vantablack (the world's darkest substance) in aluminum foil
Photo credit: Surrey NanoSystems

Looking at Vantablack is like staring into a black hole.

What would you do if you were unable to see something that is right it front of you? No, you are not visually impaired, but you might be looking at a substance called Vantablack. This material is so black that it simply cannot be seen by the human eye.

Our vision works by picking up reflected photons (light) from objects around us, which provides our brains with the source to construct the world we see. The substance Vantablack, however absorbs 99.9% of all light that strikes the substance. Therefore no photons are being reflected for our vision to pick up, which is why we are unable to see the substance.  

Our brains try to make sense of the situation, shading colors of other materials and objects around the Vantablack substance, and trying to provide us with something to observe. In reality, when looking at substance, we are just not able to see anything because there isn’t anything to see. As it stands, Vantablack is officially the darkest substance known to man.

Check out this video by Nikola Slavkovic on Vantablack:

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