YInMn Blue. (Photo: OSU)

Mas Subramanian and his team at Oregon State University weren’t looking to create colors; they were just mixing chemicals together to see what they could produce. They were aiming for something with an electronics application. Instead, they got YInMn Blue—a new and vibrant blue pigment.

YInMn Blue came from mixing manganese oxide, which is black, with “other chemicals” and baking them in a 2,000 degree oven. One of the samples that came out was this beautiful blue color. Its name comes from some of those “other chemicals,” which included the elements Yttrium and Indium.

YInMn Blue has some other nice properties. It’s non-toxic! It’s very durable. And since it reflects infrared waves with remarkable efficiency, it could be used to help keep buildings cool, if used in exterior paint. Imagine flying over a city of a roofs painted bright blue instead of dirty white or dark black. That’s a very beautiful future.

Every day, we highlight one newly found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.