Vantablack is a substance made of vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays and is one of the darkest artificial substances known, absorbing up to 99.965% of radiation in the visible spectrum.
Vantablack is composed of a forest of vertical tubes which are "grown" on a substrate using a modified chemical vapor deposition process (CVD). When light strikes Vantablack, instead of bouncing off, it becomes trapped and is continually deflected among the tubes, eventually becoming absorbed and dissipating into heat.
Vantablack was an improvement over similar substances developed at the time. Vantablack absorbs 99.965% of visible light. It can be created at 400 °C (752 °F); NASA had previously developed a similar substance, but that can only be grown at 750 °C (1,380 °F). For this reason, Vantablack can be grown on materials that cannot withstand higher temperatures.
The outgassing and particle fallout levels of Vantablack are low. The high levels in similar substances in the past had prevented their commercial usefulness. Vantablack also has greater resistance to mechanical vibration, and has greater thermal stability.
Early development was carried out at the National Physical Laboratory in the UK, although the term "Vanta" wasn't coined until sometime later. Vertically aligned nanotube arrays are being sold by several firms, including NanoLab, Santa Barbara Infrared and others. 
Being the blackest material, this substance has many potential applications, including preventing stray light from entering telescopes, and improving the performance of infrared cameras both on Earth and in space, Ben Jensen, Chief Technology Officer, Surrey NanoSystems, has explained: "For example, it reduces stray light, improving the ability of sensitive telescopes to see the faintest stars... Its ultra-low reflectance improves the sensitivity of terrestrial, space and air-borne instrumentation."
Vantablack may also increase the absorption of heat in materials used in concentrated solar power technology, as well as military applications such as thermal camouflage. The emissivity of Vantablack and scalability support a wide range of applications.
The material is being used by artist Anish Kapoor who said, "It's effectively like a paint... Imagine a space that's so dark that as you walk in you lose all sense of where you are, what you are, and especially all sense of time."
The colour was exclusively licensed to Kapoor's studio for artistic use, causing outrage among some other artists such as Christian Furr and Stuart Semple. During a talk at the Denver Art Museum, Semple casually responded that his release of an ultra-fluorescent pink he had developed would not be allowed to be purchased by Kapoor. He later released a strong shade of pink with a non-binding disclaimer that Anish Kapoor was not allowed to purchase. He later stated that the move was itself like performance art and that he did not anticipate the amount of attention it received. In December 2016, Kapoor posted an Instagram post of his middle finger dipped in Semple's pink. Semple has also produced a colour-changing paint and cherry-scented deep black coloured paint that Kapoor is barred from purchasing in a similar fashion. The company Nanolab partnered with Boston artist Jason Chase and released a colour called Singularity Black, with ongoing research and development efforts directed towards the arts community. During the first showing of the colour, Chase alluded to Vantablack and stated that it was stunted because of the unavailability to other artists, and Singularity Black's release was important to create access.
Some speculate the controversy had been manufactured by the media for increased viewership, while others suggest the controversy between the artists and the online response is a spontaneous collective performance art in itself. The manufacturer has explained that Vantablack is also subject to export controls by the UK, and due to its temperature and physical requirements is not practical for use in many types of art.
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Even when you bend or crumple the Vantablack, the material — or rather, the dark nothingness created by the material — [still] looks completely flat