How expensive is vantablack

Pay please! 99.965% light absorbed for near-perfect black

Vantablack (VANTA = Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Array) is a coating that absorbs 99.965% of the incident light (measured at a wavelength of 750 nm). This means that the objects treated with it seem to lose any surface quality to the viewer, since even with strong light irradiation practically no contours are recognizable.

This sight creates a mixture of fascination and horror, as such "swallowing" of light is unusual for the brain (normal black color usually absorbs a maximum of 95% of the incident light). Based on the photos, one would like to believe that the black areas are photoshopped.

Rising carbon nanotubes

Vantablack is not a color in the common sense, but - as the name suggests - a grid of carbon nanotubes. Each one has a diameter of around 20 nanometers (for comparison: an average head hair with a diameter of 0.07 mm is 3500 times as thick). The length in turn varies between 14 and 50 micrometers. An area of ​​one square centimeter contains roughly a billion of these nanotubes. If light hits this arrangement, it is reflected between the tubes about three to four times, only to be absorbed and converted into heat.

This means that only light that hits the tips above is reflected. Put simply, it would be like standing in a dense forest of trees, all of which are several thousand meters high. UV light (200-350 nm wavelength), visible light (350-700 nm) and in the infrared range (> 16 micrometers) are all without spectral reflective properties.

Broad range of tasks

This coating, which was originally developed for high-precision control and measurement technology, offers even more possibilities: In particular in optical devices such as cameras or telescopes, this coating can prevent interfering scattered light, e.g. B. inside tubes and lenses or on the dashboard under auto-head-up displays. In addition, it has ideal properties, especially for space travel: It is very insensitive to temperature and is highly conductive. Of course, military applications are also possible.

The application range is between -196 ° C (not far from absolute zero) and 400 ° C. Rapid temperature fluctuations are also not a problem at all. In the case of samples that were taken from liquid nitrogen and placed directly on hotplates at 300 ° C, no significant impairments were found. In addition, Vantablack is very vibration-resistant and, thanks to its structure, lets water roll off with a lotus blossom effect. And it's very light: one square meter weighs a whole 2.5 grams.

Sensitive to touch and expensive

The catch is, however, that Vantablack is touch-sensitive, as touching it can damage the nanostructure and thus impair light absorption. Especially since nanotubes released through damage can pose a health hazard similar to that of asbestos fibers.
In addition, applying the coating is extremely time-consuming. The coating is produced in the laboratory using a vacuum chamber in which chemical vapor deposition (CVD) takes place at temperatures of around 500 ° C. In addition, with a price that exceeds a gold coating, it is not exactly cheap.

The Vantablack-S-VIS coating, which only absorbs around 99.77% of the light and can be sprayed on, is easier to use. Reports that there are Vantablack spray cans for sale, as can be read in some online portals, are false reports.

Nothing for private users yet

The UK government has strictly regulated any technology transfer outside the UK. Demonstration pieces are only sold to institutions. For private individuals, accessories such as a wristwatch, with a correspondingly dark dial, are available at a price of over 100,000 euros. Or you take even more money into your hand, are an artist and secure the rights of use like the British sculptor Anish Kapoor.