What is VANTA black?
The term VANTA is an acronym derived from the Vertically Aligned Nano-Tube Array or in short VANTA. Usually, the nanotubes in this design are made up of carbon. Since the colors we observe are usually the corresponding wavelengths of the solar spectrum in the visible domain being reflected from the surface of the material, for a material to be completely black, it must absorb all of the visible spectra. Microscopically the nanotubes of VANTA black are dense and they interact with light in such a way that they trap all of the incident light shining on them and therefore attain minimal reflection. The absorption is particularly enhanced at 633 nm (corresponding to red light wavelength), where the absorptance can attain a value of 99.965. The VANTA black was developed by Surrey NanoSystems. In 2019, engineers from MIT also developed a variant of blackest black material. There is an ongoing fight in the world over the control of the blackest black material due to its huge application potential. Some of its applications are given below.
Applications of super black material
The pure black color can is visually beautiful and can be used in designer products such as vehicles, art, clothing, and other objects. Amongst all the colors, the color black usually stands out due to its likeability, and therefore, the demand for purest or blackest of black color is huge in terms of its selling point. Therefore, BMW has taken exclusive rights to the usage of VANTA black and other brands have also acquired VANTA black for their products after garnering exclusive rights.
The VANTA black and its variants of pure black absorbers could be employed as thermal camouflage. Clothing made out of this color will be extremely hard to detect, especially at night. The Stealth fighter jets can be made even stealthier if the jet is covered with the blackest black pigment. A visual depiction of pure black color is presented in Fig. 1 given below.
Since the blackest of black material absorbs most of the solar spectra, it can be considered as a blackbody. A blackbody absorbs all of the solar radiation and can therefore be employed to capture all of this energy. This energy can then be utilized as heat energy or selectively emitted in the shape of photons towards photovoltaic cells for the generation of electron-hole pair in order to generate electricity.
Although the blackest black material has lots of advantages, one serious disadvantage from using this technology is also the advantage. This disadvantage is the absorption of all the incoming radiation if excess energy is incident on the material. This can extensively raise the temperature of the material causing it to burn itself and anything it is in contact with. Therefore, care must be taken while employing this for some applications.
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