It is not a painting but it is the most coveted color by painters, a black so pure that it absorbs 99.96% of the light. Now, in addition, it can be administered as a spray.

Surrey Nanosystems scientists continue on their way to achieve the purest black ever seen. The creators of the Vantablack pigment this week presented a spray, called Vantablack S-VIS, with which it will be possible to apply this carbon nanotube coating to objects.

What is it made of?

Vantablack holds the record for being the darkest human-made material, and was originally created for use in satellite calibration systems, called blackbody or ‘black body’. Applying Vantablack to an object required a vacuum deposition machine, as the object is actually coated in carbon nanotubes to achieve this optical effect. Or to be more precise, the nanotubes that make up the Vantablack they grow in the object by effect of the vacuum.

Why is it so crazy black?

As the company has announced from the rooftops, this pigment absorbs 99.965% of the light it receives. In its new spray version, it reflects a little more light but still absorbs 99.8%

When a photon embeds itself in Vantablack, it enters a kind of infinitesimal forest. It bounces from carbon tube to carbon tube until the light is absorbed and the heat is dissipated. “Vantablack is mostly empty space, carbon nanotubes only account for 0.05% of the coating,” they explain from the company.

Vantablack on a piece of aluminum foil.

Vantablack on a piece of aluminum foil.
Surrey Nanosystems

In addition, this material – ideal for satellites – has other peculiarities such as hydrophobicity, its resistance to vibration from a launch or to withstand temperatures between -196ºC and 300ºC.

What does Anish Kapoor paint in this article?

Indo-British artist Anish Kapoor has managed to gain exclusive worldwide use of spray pigment for artistic uses.

The news generated quite a controversy at the end of last year. Christian Furr, the youngest British artist ever to be commissioned to paint Queen Elizabeth II, declared that other artists should “be able to use it, it’s not fair that it belongs to one man,” he said. “The best artists were fixated on pure black, Turner, Manet, Goya … this black is like dynamite for the art world.”

Is it for sale, how much does it cost?

Surrey Nanosystems has started offering samples of its new S-VIS spray “for educational purposes” to universities and research centers, but the pigment itself is not available in stores.

Blacker than original Vantablack!

What’s more, the peculiarity of this material means that orders from outside the United Kingdom are subject to a special export control. If you want to request a sample of Vantablack, prepare between 345 and 645 euros and click here. If you do it from Spain, also complete this form.