New Era of Tech made Possible by Ancient Egyptian Pigment

We still have no clue how the pyramids were built, but thanks to a bright blue pigment first used by the ancient Egyptians, scientists now have a new method in the development of nanomaterials for various tech uses, namely  telecommunications devices.The pigment commonly referred to as “Egyptian Blue” may be the key in ushering in a new era of technological development, according to the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“Egyptian Blue” was the first synthetic pigment to be produced in the area of Egypt during the 3rd millennium BC, and was widely popular and used until the end of the Greco-Roman period (332 BC-395 AD). The pigment was used in a numerous amount of applications, such as coloring such mediums as stone, wood, plaster, papyrus and canvas. It was also utilized in the production of objects such as beads, scarabs, inlays, pots and statuettes. It’s popularity was not limited to Egypt, either; the pigment has been found even at the furthest reaches of the Roman empire.

According to Tina T. Salguero and colleagues, the calcium copper silicate in the ancient pigment breaks into thin nanosheets, which produce invisible infrared (IR) radiation similar to the beams that communicate between various telecommunications devices, such as TVs and remote controls. The nanosheets are so tiny that thousands of them could be situated across one human hair. According to the report, “Calcium copper silicate provides a route to a new class of nanomaterials that are particularly interesting with respect to state-of-the-art pursuits like near-IR-based biomedical imaging, IR light-emitting devices (especially telecommunication platforms) and security ink formulations,” the report states. “In this way we can reimagine the applications of an ancient material through modern technochemical means.”

While “Egyptian Blue” may not help us solve the riddle of who built the pyramids or why Egyptians loved cats so much, it looks to be a promising material that will bring advances to telecommunications and high-end medical technology.

Now if we could just get that Stargate up and running.


  • Why is not that color used anymore?

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