In 2009, a professor named Mas Subramanian and his team were in his lab at Oregon State University researching new materials for use in electronics.
While mixing several chemicals at high heat (2000 degrees Fahrenheit), Subramanian and team made an unexpected discovery: They had created an entirely new shade of blue.
The researchers named the vibrant blue YInMn, which according to ArtNet “comes from the pigment’s elemental makeup, which includes Yttrium, Indium and Manganese.” Leave it to chemists to name a color after its chemical makeup, right?
Existing blue pigments are made either naturally via lapis lazuli, a type of rock, or through a chemical process that can be toxic or may be prone to fading. According to OSU, YInMn “is so durable, and its compounds are so stable—even in oil and water—that the color does not fade.”
While YInMn was discovered several years ago, the company that bought the license to pigment it has plans to finally make it commercially available later this year.
The vibrant blue is good at reflecting infrared light, which could make it a useful pigment on roofs as it could help deflect the sun and keep homes cool.
[h/t Mental Floss]