YInMn Is The New Blue
The famous painter Bob Ross would often quip that when painting, you don’t make mistakes, instead you just have “happy accidents”.
It can be said that chemists at Oregon State University have had a happy accident when they stumbled upon an undiscovered shade of blue pigment while experimenting with new materials for electronics applications.
From the Oregon State University press release:
OSU chemist Mas Subramanian and his team were experimenting with new materials that could be used in electronics applications and they mixed manganese oxide – which is black in color – with other chemicals and heated them in a furnace to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. One of their samples turned out to be a vivid blue. Oregon State graduate student Andrew Smith initially made these samples to study their electrical properties.
The new pigment is formed by a unique crystal structure that allows the manganese ions to absorb red and green wavelengths of light, while only reflecting blue. The vibrant blue is so durable, and its compounds are so stable – even in oil and water – that the color does not fade.
These characteristics make the new pigment versatile for a variety of commercial products. Used in paints, for example, they can help keep buildings cool by reflecting infrared light. Better yet, Subramanian said, none of the pigment’s ingredients are toxic.
The discovery was made back in 2009, but now the color is finally being made available to the public. The color is called “YInMn blue”. Oregon State University reached an exclusive licensing agreement for the pigment with The Shepherd Color Company. It will be used in a wide range of coatings and plastics.