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Indium Blue - Coming to a Crayola Crayon Box Near You!

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  • Indium
  • You may have recently read that Crayola retired the yellow crayon color "Dandelion" so they could replace it with a new color. Here is an article on the topic from Fortune Magazine.

    It turns out that the new color is the result of some testing done by researchers at the University of Oregon and includes indium. They were actually testing out the electrical properties of different materials, and the mixture of Yttrium, Indium and Manganese resulted in a beautiful blue material that they call YInMn Blue. Watch this video.

    One of the researchers (OSU chemistry professor Mas Subramanian) commented, “Most pigments are discovered by chance,” Subramanian added. “The reason is because the origin of the color of a material depends not only on the chemical composition, but also on the intricate arrangement of atoms in the crystal structure. So someone has to make the material first, then study its crystal structure thoroughly to explain the color.”

    Of course indium has a similar history where the researchers were looking for one element (thallium) but ended up seeing a brilliant indigo color in the atomic spectroscope that they came to identify as the element indium. I am sure that the two scientists who discovered indium would be surprised to see the volume of material produced every year to support so many modern day devices.  Especially since one of them was color blind and needed the help of the second one to identify the colorful element.

    Crayola is currently conducting a contest to name this brilliant new color.  I'm thinking something with "indium" in the name is most appropriate, don't you?