Carbon Black Body, by the National Metrology Institute of Japan. Photo: Tatsuya Yamaji.
The burgeoning field of daylighting often prioritizes materials that can propagate light deeply into interior spaces. However, light-reflecting materials are not ideal for every situation; rather, light absorption is often desired to minimize glare and solar heat gain.
A look at the most light-absorptive materials reveals a recent discovery by the National Metrology Institute of Japan, which claims to have developed the darkest matter on earth. Similar to the UK National Physical Laboratory’s Super Black, the so-called Carbon Black Body absorbs close to 99 percent of incident light. Made up of carbon nanotubes arranged in a structure that maximizes light absorption, the substance appears as a void rather than a material—a black hole that subsumes even the flash from a camera (as shown in the picture above).
Not only does Carbon Black Body put a stop to glare, but it also makes an ideal material for displays requiring better shadow fidelity, as well as for efficient infrared sensors and heating elements.