A breakthrough in nanoscience has created VANTA coatings – a paint that reflects so little light it renders real-life objects as 2-dimensional.
The human eye and optical centre of the brain interpret variences in lighting as shape, allowing us to determine what exactly we’re looking at – abstract art notwithstanding. VANTA paint aborbs light energy instead of reflecting it, therefore, with so little light returning to your eyes, the brain has no data to determine shape. To look at an object painted in this substance is to look into a veritable black hole.
So how does it work, exactly? VANTA – which stands for Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Array – utilizes a matrix of carbon-based nano-tubes (vertically stacked carbon atoms forming ultra-thin towers on the atomic scale) to absorb light energy, transforming it into heat instead of reflecting it as light. In its most effective formulation it absorbs an astonishing 99.965 percent of light. No naturally occuring substance absorbs that much light.
Which brings us to the Vantablack BMW X6 – the first (and only) vehicle to be painted with this anti-reflective marvel. We can’t say it enhances the handsome shape of the X6 because, quite frankly, it erases shape and thus detracts from it. But it looks mean and menacing, and brings new swagger to the ‘murdered-out’ car scene. We hear Bruce Wayne has ordered a few gallons for his Batmobile.
It does serve a very practical application in sensors and scientific imaging equipment, eliminating incident light and edowing sensors and cameras with greater accuracy and performance, respectively.
VANTA paint is a technological triumph in its realm of coating science, and perhaps pairing one of the world’s most advanced coatings with one of the world’s most pioneering automotive brands carries a certain synergy. We’d love to see it in the flesh, and curse our cameras as we miserably fail to photograph it.
– BMW Group