The search has been on for nine years, since his team in 2009 came up with the first inorganic blue in 200 years, which soon became a billion-dollar commercial pigment called ‘YInMn blue’ or ‘Mas blue’. M A Subramanian, an alumnus of University of Madras and IIT-M who holds more than 50 other patents, says YInMn blue was an accident. Working on a material for computing, his team had ground yttrium (white), indium oxide (black) and manganese (yellow), and kept the mixture in a furnace.

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