Vantablack is composed of a forest of vertical tubes which are “grown”. 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 previous similar substances developed at the time. Vantablack absorbs 99.965% of visible light. Also, this new material can be created at 400 °C (752 °F); NASA had developed a similar substance that could be grown at 750 °C (1,380 °F). 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.