MIT engineers created a material that is 10 times blacker than anything that has previously been reported.

To showcase how dark the material is, they have coated a $2-million,16.78-carat natural yellow diamond with the substance. The result is that the gem, which is normally very brilliant, appears as a flat, black void.

The researchers didn’t intend to engineer an ultrablack material. Instead, they were experimenting with ways to grow carbon nanotubes on electrically conducting materials such as aluminum, to boost their electrical and thermal properties

The experiment has been turned into an art installation titled “The Redemption of Vanity,” a collaboration between Brian Wardle, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, and his group, MIT Center for Art, Science, and Technology artist-in-residence Diemut Strebe, and LJ West Diamonds.

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