Two new – and breathtaking – color pigments have recently emerged, and one was by accident !
Vantablack was invented by British researchers and was declared the darkest material ever produced – capable of absorbing 99.96 percent of ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light. Since then, that team has upped its blackness, announcing that no spectrometer in the world was powerful enough to measure how much light it absorbs. “Even running a high power laser pointer across it barely reflects anything back to the viewer,” the researchers explain. “We have never before made a material so ‘black’ that it can’t be picked up on our spectrometers in the infrared.”
Commercially, a ‘spray-on’ form of Vantablack is available which blocks 99.8 percent of ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light. That’ss enough to make three-dimensional objects appear distinctly two-dimensional as exhibited by the picture of a face mask in which all the features are rendered non-existent to our eyes.
YInMn Blue is the first new blue pigment to be discovered in 200 years – when cobalt blue was discovered by French chemist Louis Jacques Thenard in 1802. The scientific breakthrough was a happy accident; a student in an Oregon State University chemistry lab at combined yttrium, indium, and manganese oxides in a furnace. When it was pulled out, the substance was a bright blue.
YInMn Blue is chemically stable, does not fade, and is non-toxic. Moreover, infrared radiation is strongly reflected, which makes this pigment suitable for energy-saving cool coatings. The pigment is very durable, retaining its vibrant color in oil and water.