‘Serendipitous discovery’: OSU’s new shade of blue

Oregon State University chemist Mas Subramanian and team discovered it in 2009

YlnMn Blue, a new shade of blue discovered and licensed by Oregon State University (Courtesy photo: OSU)
YlnMn Blue, a new shade of blue discovered and licensed by Oregon State University (Courtesy photo: OSU)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Science is populated with advances found in accidental ways. Such is the case of Oregon State University chemist Mas Subramanian and his “near-perfect” shade of blue.

Last year, OSU announced Subramanian and his team were experimenting with new materials to use in electronics applications when they mixed manganese oxide with other chemicals. The mixture was put into a furnace that reached almost 2000 degrees.

What they got was a completely new shade of blue that won’t fade, even in oil and water.

YlnMn Blue Goes Viral

“YInMn” blue — named for the chemicals included — “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 OSU release said.

The non-toxic pigment was actually discovered in 2009 but no formal announcement was made until last year. The university calls it a “seredipitous discovery.”

The vivid shade has already been used in some art and could be used in other commercial products. It may also be “a new candidate for energy efficiency,” Subramanian said in the release.

The color is going commercial. Oregon State University has licensed to the Shepherd Color Company. The April production date was pushed back indefinitely as the company was still completing EPA paperwork, their Facebook page said.

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