Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Blue Pigment Discovered

Here's an interesting article about an apparently new blue pigment discovered serendipitously by chemists at Oregon State. The color is reported to arise from Mn3+ "introduced into the trigonal bipyramidal sites of metal oxides". The new pigment is said to be better than alternatives such as cobalt blue, ultramarine, Prussian blue, and azurite, because it is stable and non-toxic.

I'm a little skeptical that it's commercially viable, since the examples the chemists have produced so far are based on compounds using the rare metals yttrium, indium, lutetium, and gallium.

Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but there is exactly one known mineral that crystallizes in the trigonal bipyramidal form, and it is also known for its blue color: benitoite (BaTiSi3O9).

No comments: