The darkest material ever made

Scientists have developed a material so dark it is difficult to discern the shape of any object it coats.

The material absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of light, a new world record, and is so dark the human eye struggles to discern its shape and dimension, giving the appearance of a black hole. Named Vantablack, or super black, it also conducts heat seven and half times more effectively than copper, and is ten times stronger than steel. It is created by Surrey NanoSystems using carbon nanotubes, which are 10,000 thinner than human hair and so miniscule that light cannot get in but can pass into the gaps in between.

The pictures at the website are especially amazing. They coated half of a sheet of aluminum foil with the material and then crinkled the foil. You can see the crinkles in the uncoated material, but the coated material just looks black.

This will be very useful for astronomical instruments, as well as many other technical applications. For example, if you coat the body of your telescope with this material it will help eliminate stray light, which means that you will increase the efficiency of your observations.