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The Newest Color: YInMn Blue

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

Back in 2009 at Oregon State University, chemist Mas Subramanian and a team of researchers accidentally discovered a new pigment of blue, produced by heating manganese oxides to approximately 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, nearly 13 years later, YInMn is available for personal purchase, but it’ll cost you $180 for a tube. You might be asking yourself why a tube of blue paint would be so expensive. Although YInMn blue, named for its chemical components—yttrium, indium and manganese— has been around for almost 13 years, the pigment is extremely rare. Blue pigments are particularly rare as true blues don't exist much in nature. In fact, YInMn is one of only three or so new blue pigments discovered in the last century.

For centuries, a stable shade of blue was searched for and has finally been found. YInMn blue is different because it does not fade like most blues, and is not dangerous like cobalt blue pigments which can be toxic from cobalt content or ultramarine which produces sulfur dioxide when produced. Inevitably, not long after the discovery companies wanted to begin using YInMn. Eventually in 2015, Shepherd Color Company was given the license to commercialize the blue pigment. The next year, AMD declared its use of the color in their professional GPUs (graphics processing unit) due to the impeccable NIR reflectance of the color. Even Crayola decided to hop aboard in 2017 by creating a color inspired by YInMn.

Still, YInMn blue was not available to US consumers, not for another 5 years. In 2020, the United States finally gave environmental and safety approval for consumer use of the color YInMn. Golden Paints is currently the only seller for consumers in the US and they have advised that the color is incredibly rare and hard to acquire. Their website has noted that no new orders for YInMn blue can be taken at this time, dated April 2021.

So unfortunately if you were looking to purchase some of this vibrant, eye-catching pigment it looks like you’ll be waiting a while…

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