Out of the blue

ground pigments, happy accidents, YInMn blue, chemical discoveries, discovery of a new blue, art preservation,

Pantone, are you listening? There’s a new blue on the block.

The pigment was discovered in 2009 by chemist Mas Subramanian and his team at Oregon State University. The team was experimenting with electronic applications when a student discovered the blue powder in a lab furnace. Serendipitous indeed!

YInMn is its name – derived from the pigment’s makeup: Yttrium, Indium and Manganese.

Unlike other blues such as Prussian and cobalt which are toxic, YInMn is safe, more durable and easier to produce – grinding lapis lazuli for ultramarine may be a thing of the past.

The pigment that had been tested by local Oregonian artists has now been perfected and will be available for commercial and household uses later this year.

ground pigments, happy accidents, YInMn blue, chemical discoveries, discovery of a new blue, art preservation, chemist Mas Subramanian

Dr Subramanian is very proud that YInMn blue has been included in the Forbes Pigment Collection (who knew?), America’s most comprehensive pigment collection at the Harvard Art Museums. Founded by Edward Forbes while preserving his personal art collection, it houses pigments dating back to the Middle Ages.

Brilliant all around! Read the technical side of the story here.

Photos: Willeke_igkt, Flickr under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) adapted; Oregon State University

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