Scientists have lived out every child’s fantasy by accidentally creating a brand new colour and giving it a funny name. YInMn (named after the elements it’s made from -- Yttrium, Indium, Manganese) may look like a pretty but unextraordinary shade of blue, but apparently it’s rather special.
It’s been described as a ‘near-perfect blue pigment’, thanks to its crystal structure. The manganese ions in YInMn absorb red and green wavelengths of light but only reflect blue, which makes it extremely durable and vibrant. It won’t fade when you mix it with oil or water.
That’s not all. It’s also free of toxins and reflects infrared light better than other blue pigments, making it an ideal material to keep buildings cool. The colour is ideal for use in products like coatings, plastic, paint and roofing materials.
“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,” said Mas Subramanian from the Oregon State University College of Science. “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.
“Now it also appears to be a new candidate for energy efficiency.”
Just to think, it was only created because Subramanian went wild in the lab, fiddling with manganese oxide and a bunch of other chemicals before heating them up to nearly 1,093 degrees Celsius. A happy accident that's sure to inspire a bunch of amateur chemical enthusiasts. [Stuff]