The complex structure of carbon nanotubesallows it to maintain certain properties such as electrical and thermalconductivity as well as mechanical strength. In order to obtain these complexstructures and properties, however, the carbon tubes need to be synthesized intotheir according structures. Chemical vapor deposition is the most commontechnique, although other synthesis methods such as arc discharge and laser ablationcan be used. In chemical vapor deposition, vaporized hydrocarbons are heatedand decomposed by a metal catalytic substrate which serves as a template fornanotube formation. The uniqueness of carbon nanotubes extends far beyond theirstructures and properties, as their level of compliance with different fieldsis vast. From building the darkest color to providing a medium for tissueregrowth, there seems to be few boundaries for these nanomaterials. Vantablack is a material created bySurrey Nanosystems which was originally created for satellite-borne blackbodycalibration systems6.
Vantablack is currently being recognized asone of the darkest man made materials as it reflects only 0.036% of light6. When it is applied to a 3D surface, theobject appears to lose its dimension to the darkness and resembles a black holein space (Image 26). Itshigh absorption extends from the UV spectrum, into the visible, and also theinfrared (>16microns)6. The reason it absorbs such a large rangeof light is because of vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays (VANTA).
Thearrays contain spacing which permit the entrance of a photon, however, the light/radiationreflects between the tubes and eventually becomes absorbed as it is convertedto heat. The heat is then transferred to the nanotubes’ substrate which can be madeof aluminum alloys, cobalt, copper, nickel, sapphire and more. Besides opticalproperties, Vantablack contains other properties make it an extraordinarymaterial. For example, it is very hydrophobic and therefore prevents water frominterfering with optical properties and it also has high thermal and mechanicalshock resistance. Due to Vantablack’s properties, it can be applied to variouspieces of technology to enhance data collection and imaging. Some applicationsinclude its incorporation into IR imaging, Spectroscopy, telescopes, sensors,and calibration sources.