Date:24 April 2017
Once you see this flaw in this Vantablack illusion you can’t unsee it.
By Eric Limer
Vantablack is the blackest material known to humankind, made of vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays that can absorb 99.965 of the light that is shone on them. The result is something almost comically black, like a movable hole from a cartoon.
The almost complete blackness can make even bumpy surfaces seem completely flat and also makes them functionally invisible against a Vantablack background. At least, it usually does. There’s a small, telltale sign in this latest demonstration that gives up the whole gig. Can you spot it?
*stop* Now check out the video above to see if you can find the flaw in the illusion before reading any further.
Look closely and you should notice just a few, tiny bright spots moving across the field of black before the mask turns. Those are, as maker Surrey NanoSystems notes in the video description, the results of damage done by the TSA during travel.
The mask is due for a new coat of paint—Vantablack is applied like a spray paint—before it will go back to being its perfectly black self. But while the dots are technically imperfections, they actually make the effect even cooler by functioning as a reference point to show just how black the black side is even while it’s still turning.
There’s none more black.
Source: Surrey NanoSystems
This article was originally written for and published by Popular Mechanics USA.