Scientists at Oregon State University have developed a blue pigment. Mas Subramanian and his students have this to their credit. The dye is environmentally friendly and nontoxic. This is good news, because many inorganic blues are toxic or cause cancer, such as Prussian blue, cobalt blue, or ultramarine blue.
There is yet another property this dye possesses. It reflects light from sunlight especially in the infrared (heat) part of the spectrum. It is about 40% higher in reflectivity than most blue colors. This could prove to be ideal for paints used on cars, roofs, and other applications where keeping cool is desirable.
This will help in reducing the amount of energy consumption in cooling the vehicles as lesser air conditioning wil be required because it will reflect away much of the heat from the falling light. Because the paint is reflecting much of the energy, it tends to last longer as it is not broken down by the absorbed energy.
The compound was discovered by chance in the laboratory when a student heated a sample of manganese oxide (which is black) to 2,000 degree F. When it came out of the oven, it had been transformed into a bright blue color.
Subsequent analysis showed the compound had a trigonal bipyramidal structure—the shape of two pyramids pointing in opposite directions and joined at a triangular base. The central manganese atom is surrounded by five oxygen atoms. But other compounds—yttrium oxide and indium oxide—are required to stabilize the blue crystals.
Another application wil be paint the roof tops with this dye and save much energy.