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Move over, vantablack. MIT researchers have accidentally created a material that captures more than 99.995 percent of light. It’s made of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes that were originally to be applied to electrically conductive materials in order to improve their electrical and thermal properties.

“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,” said Brian Wardle, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. “Our material is 10 times blacker than anything that’s ever been reported, but I think the blackest black is a constantly moving target. Someone will find a blacker material, and eventually we’ll understand all the underlying mechanisms, and will be able to properly engineer the ultimate black.”


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By John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.