Scientists Have Discovered a Stunning New Shade of Blue

Apparently — in an age of smartphones and Netflix — new colors are still being discovered. Who’d have thought?

Chemists at Oregon State University have found a brilliant blue pigment named YInMn after the elements it’s made of: yttrium, indium, and manganese.

The rich, new blue pigment scientists have found. (Photo: Oregon State University)
The rich, new blue pigment scientists have found. (Photo: Oregon State University)

OSU chemist Mas Subramanian and his team were experimenting with new materials that could be used in electronics applications when they discovered the color by accident. They mixed manganese oxide with other chemicals and heated them in a furnace to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and as fate would have it, one of their samples turned out to be a vivid blue.

“It was serendipity, actually; a happy, accidental discovery,” Subramanian said.

The color is now making its way to market to be used in commercial coatings, plastic, and paint for household use.

Unlike a lot of other pigments, YInMn is inherently free of toxic ingredients, which have been a problem with other commercially sold paints.

“The basic crystal structure we’re using for these pigments was known before, but no one had ever considered using it for any commercial purpose, including pigments,” Subramanian said in an OSU statement.

“Ever since the early Egyptians developed some of the first blue pigments, the pigment industry has been struggling to address problems with safety, toxicity, and durability.”

So, if you’re in the market for a beautiful bright blue nontoxic wall in your home — looks like today’s your lucky day.

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