It was found that this chemistry had interesting properties that affects the absorption of light and consequently its color. So Subramanian and his research team, including OSU professor emeritus Art Sleight, quickly shifted their electronics research into what may become a revolution in the paint and pigment industry. Future applications may range from inkjet printers to automobiles or even ordinary house paint.
The work created, at first, a beautiful blue pigment, which had properties that had eluded humans for thousands of years, dating back to the Han dynasty in China, ancient Egyptians and Mayan culture. Most previous blue pigments had various problems with toxicity, durability and vulnerability to heat or acid. Some are carcinogenic, others emit cyanide.
Expanding that research, the scientists further studied this unusual "trigonal-bypyramidal coordination" of crystalline structure, atoms that are combined in a certain five-part coordinated network. The initial blue color in the pigment came from the manganese used in the compound. The scientists have now discovered that the same structure will produce other colors simply by substituting different elements.
"The new orange pigment is based on iron, and we might use copper and titanium for a green pigment," Subramanian said. "Yellow and deep brown should be possible, and we should be able to make a new red pigment. A lot of red pigments are now made with cadmium and mercury, which can be toxic.
"These should all be very attractive for commercial use," he said.
|Contact: Mas Subramanian|
Oregon State University