US Infrared Firm Gets Vantablack Rights


A California infrared instrumentation company has laid claim to the so-called “world’s blackest black” coating, making a deal with the ultra-black material’s developers for its exclusive use in blackbody calibration sources.

Santa Barbara Infrared announced Monday (Dec. 5) that it has entered into an agreement with U.K.-based Surrey Nanosystems, the creators of Vantablack S-VIS. Vantablack S-VIS is the spray-applied version of Vantablack, a carbon-nanotube coating that absorbs 99.96 percent of all light that hits it. The coating reflects so little light, it can be hard to perceive the shape and texture of an object coated with it.

SBIR will have sole rights to the use of Vantablack S-VIS—which is slightly less black than the original coating, but more versatile—in its field.

Vantablack Background

Vantablack made waves when it was first announced in 2014, and caused controversy in the art world earlier this year when artist Anish Kapoor announced he had won exclusive rights to use the color in art. The coating has been viewed as an important development for aerospace and military applications, among other fields.

Vantablack was used to coat a satellite that was launched about a year ago, serving to limit light reflection around the “star tracker” on the Kent Ridge 1.


Vantablack reflects so little light, it can be hard to perceive the shape and texture of an object coated with it.

In addition to absorbing nearly all visible light, Vantablack is said to have exceptional infrared absorption, as well as mechanical, thermal and environmental stability.

SBIR Applications

Blackbody sources are used in testing and calibration of radiation thermometers and thermal imagers. They are tools that exhibit high emission and high absorption at a specific temperature.

"The superb broad band absorption of Vantablack coatings, and the highly uniform deposition layer, helps us to create blackbody sources offering extremely high radiometric performance without caveats – greatly enhancing ease of use," said SBIR president Steve McHugh.

SBIR makes and tests infrared cameras and other thermal imaging tools for space, military and commercial uses. The company was founded in 1986, according to its website, and became part of the HEICO Corporation in 1999.

“We’re … delighted to have a partner to simplify procurement and provide local support for Vantablack coatings in North America,” noted Surrey Nanosystems CEO David Wong. “We see this as crucial to serving such an important market.”


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Business matters; carbon nanotubes; Coating Materials; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Industrial coatings; Latin America; Nanotechnology; North America; Surrey NanoSystems

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