MIT engineers have developed a material that is 10 times blacker than anything that has previously been reported. The material is being exhibited as a piece of art called ‘the redemption of vanity‘, a collaboration between diemut strebe, artist-in-residence at the MIT center for art, science and technology, and brian wardle an MIT aeronautics and astronautics professor.
The exhibition includes a 16.78-carat natural yellow diamond from LJ west diamonds, estimated to be worth $2 million, which has been coated in the ultra-black material. As a result, the multi-faceted diamond appears as a flat, black void.
Working with strebe to realise the piece, engineers at MIT set about to create an ultra black material. They experimented with ways to grow carbon nanotubes (CNTS) — microscopic filaments of carbon — on electrically conducting materials such as aluminum, to boost their electrical and thermal properties.
The final material is made from (CNTS) that the team grew on a surface of chlorine-etched aluminum foil. The foil captures at least 99.995 percent of any incoming light, making it the blackest material on record. in other words, it reflected 10 times less light than all other super-black materials, including vantablack.