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Out of the Blue – Scientists Accidentally Discover Brilliant New Shade of Blue

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  • blue
  • color
  • design trends
YInMn Blue Next to Solo Blue

Out of the Blue

Electrical researchers at Oregon State University have created a brand new, brilliant shade of blue – completely by accident.

The new hue was chanced upon back in 2009 when manganese oxide and a variety of other chemicals were heated up to over 2000º Fahrenheit, in a series of experiments connected to electronics. The mix of unlikely chemicals gives this deep new shade its clinical sounding name: “YInMn.” 

The process by which this color is made, resulted in a unique crystalline structure that lent the compound a distinct vibrance and durability.


A Valuable Commodity

A stable, permanent blue dye has been valued since ancient times. Natural indigo was long a rare, sought-after commodity, resulting in highly lucrative trade all throughout Europe.

Indigo was a highly valuable commodity up until recently.

For all its price, natural indigo lacked the vivacity of other inorganic blues like ultramarine or cobalt blue; but these compounds were dangerously toxic and didn’t last.

Placed in this context, the discovery of a brand new, ultra-bright, long-lasting blue pigment is rather remarkable.


New Possibilities

Lead researcher, Mas Subramanian is quite excited about the opportunities for YInMn Blue:

“[YInMn is] more durable, safe and fairly easy to produce… it also appears to be a new candidate for energy efficiency.”

Oh yeah, we forgot to mention, this blue is also remarkably reflective, meaning it could be used paint roofs to help keep buildings cooler. Is this new blue also green?

YInMn is reminiscent of the striking blue made famous by artist Yves Klein in the 1950s.

Yves Klein upended the art world with his bold blue.

Given the invigorating effect this new discovery of blue has had on artists around the world, it'll be exciting to see bright, bold blue having a brand new moment.

Can we cast an early prediction for Pantone’s 2017 color of the year now?


Also, we know this blue is brand new, but we think our all-natural dyes came pretty close…


YInMn Blue Next to Solo Blue

See what blue can do for you. Explore our collaboration with MyDomaine where top design experts explain why you need a blue rug in your life!

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