Back in 2009, the world was first introduced to a new blue pigment discovered by OSU chemist Mas Subramanian. He and his team were experimenting with new materials that could be used in electronics applications. They mixed manganese oxide – which is black – with other chemicals and heated them in a furnace to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the samples turned out to be a vivid blue.
The chemical structure of the new pigment is so durable that it doesn’t fade, making it perfect for a variety of commercial uses. When the Oregon State University news office first wrote about Subramanian’s discovery in 2009, it made waves in the chemistry and science world. In 2015, Oregon State announced that it had reached an exclusive licensing agreement for the pigment, which is known as “YInMn” blue, with The Shepherd Color Company.
After four OSU press releases and a Terra Magazine feature on Subramanian’s discovery, news stories about the blue pigment, based on a press release from the previous year, began appearing in national media in mid June 2016. Over the last two weeks the blue pigment story has continued to gain momentum and has been featured everywhere from Cosmopolitan to The Sydney Morning Herald to Forbes Magazine. The story also received approximately 6 million impressions and 3,000 mentions on social media in more than 25 countries.
To keep up with community interest in “YInMn,” the department of chemistry has created a web page explaining the history of the remarkable pigment. Read more about it here: http://chemistry.oregonstate.edu/content/story-ylnmn-blue