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I am working on a research project with two other partners for a competition. Although my question won't be answered by then, I am still curious as to what more advanced researches will find out , if taken my question into consideration. Our project consist of the color black, Vantablack in particular. We'd like to know why the color black is so absorbent? What makes it more absorbent than any other color? what would be good substitutes for Vantablack? Could Vantablack be used to create energy similar to a solar panel given it absorbs 99.965% of light? I hope this questions gives interests to some great scientists out there and could be answered. Thank You!
Question Date: 2017-04-18
Answer 1:

I am not giving the answers to all of your questions, but I hope some of them could be helpful to you.

Why color black is more absorbent? You first need to know what is color or color black? The color is simply the result of reflected electromagnetic radiation to our eyes. The visible lights such as red, green, yellow are simply the electromagnetic radiation that can be seen by our eyes and they are slightly different in wavelength. By definition, the color black means that all of the visible light are mostly absorbed equally, leaving little visible light reflected to our eyes. If the material doesn't absorb the visible light, then it is not black by definition. The other color, say red, means that the material will reflect mostly the red light while absorbing the other visible lights. As a result, it is less absorbent than black.

Vantablack and solar panel? There are a lot of other considerations if you are thinking about substitutes or for solar energy harvesting? If you only care about the visible light absorption, yes, then Vantablack is probably good until new materials show up. But if you are thinking about everyday application say solar energy harvesting, then you should ask the questions such as the cost etc. The Vantablack can absorb the visible light very effectively, but to convert them into electricity or heat for our application is another story.

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