Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a material that they claim is 10 times blacker than anything that has previously been reported.
The material is made from vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, or CNTs -- microscopic filaments of carbon that the team grew on a surface of chlorine-etched aluminium foil.
The foil captures more than 99.96 per cent of any incoming light, making it the blackest material on record, according to a study published in the journal ACS-Applied Materials and Interfaces.
The material may be useful, for instance in optical blinders that reduce unwanted glare, to help space telescopes spot orbiting exoplanets, said Brian Wardle, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the MIT.
"There are optical and space science applications for very black materials, and of course, artists have been interested in black, going back well before the Renaissance.
"Our material is 10 times blacker than anything that's ever been reported, but I think the blackest black is a constantly moving target.
Someone will find a blacker material, and eventually we'll understand all the underlying mechanisms, and will be able to properly engineer the ultimate blac," he added.