06.08.2020Vantablack® Specialist Coating Testing
Here at AEON we are lucky enough to work with a vast array of specialist materials and coatings. One of our ongoing projects has necessitated the acquisition of a specialist coating called Vantablack®. This coating was created by Surrey NanoSystems©, based in East Sussex, UK.
Vantablack® is a class of super-black coatings that possess exceptional properties such as very high absorption levels in the UV, Visible and IR bands. It is one of the darkest substances known to man, absorbing up to 99.965% of visible light.
Vantablack® is made up of vertical carbon nanotubes which are ‘grown’ on the surface (substrate). When light hits Vantablack®, instead of bouncing off, it becomes trapped and is continually deflected amongst the tubes, eventually becoming absorbed and dissipating into heat.
We decided to test the optical qualities of the coating in our in-house lab. In the images below you can see two steel plates, one that has been coated with Vantablack® and one that has been left uncoated.
We pointed a 5mW 635nm laser at an acute angle at the plates to see exactly how much of the incident light was reflected (specular reflection).
As we expected, the uncoated surface reflected a significant amount of the light onto the white background.
By comparison the Vantablack® sample shows no observable specular reflection on the white background behind.
This simple test shows that the technology behind Vantablack® effectively and efficiently lives up to its technical specification and acclaim as “The blackest black in the world”.
Uses for specialist coatings like this:
- To minimise stray light in optical instruments like hyperspectral imaging spectrometers.
- To prevent internal reflections within high-end camera bodies, telescope tubes and optical baffles.
- To create surfaces able to efficiently convert light into heat for use in instruments such as radiometers.
- For energy capture and regeneration systems (e.g. solar, fusion).
- …and also to paint BMWs
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