Black is the new black

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Boffins have developed a new shade of black  30 times darker than the current benchmark for the colour.

For years a carbon substance has been kept by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology as the international guide for black, but now scientists have created one so black it absorbs 99.9 percent of light.

Normal black paints, by contrast, only absorbs around 90 percent of light - meaning that most of us can hardly imagine the darkness of the new black.

"All the light that goes in is basically absorbed," said Pulickel Ajayan, of Rice University in Houston who's team created the matter by using rolled carbon tubes which are 400 times smaller than a human hair.

"It is almost pushing the limit of how much light can be absorbed into one material," he added.

It is hoped that the material's ability to collect light could be used to create "super" solar energy panels many times more powerful than those currently available.

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