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High chroma pearlescent pigments designed by optical simulation

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Pearlescent pigments are one of the most essential materials not only in paints, plastics, and printing inks, but also in cosmetics. Pigments with higher chroma, color purity, and brightness are in high demand all over the world. In this study we developed a high chroma pearlescent pigment for powder foundation. To produce the high chroma pearlescent pigment, we have designed the layer structure of a pearlescent pigment using computer simulation. In the simulation we have considered its layer structure, the complex refractive indices of the layers, and the thickness distribution of a mica substrate that was measured with Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). The layer thicknesses have been optimized. The feature of this design is that iron oxide having selective light absorption has been adopted as the layer material to enhance certain wavelengths of the reflected light, which is one of the properties of high chroma. Thus, we have found that a mica substrate homogeneously coated with iron oxide which is further coated with colorless titanium dioxide has a high chroma compared to ordinary pearlescent pigments. The designed pigment has been synthesized by developing a novel manufacturing method to achieve a low roughness iron-oxide surface. We believe that this simulation is useful for designing other pearlescent pigments.

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Correspondence to Hiroyuki Shiomi.

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Shiomi, H., Misaki, E., Adachi, M. et al. High chroma pearlescent pigments designed by optical simulation. J Coat Technol Res 5, 455–464 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11998-008-9085-9

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  • Optical simulation
  • High chroma
  • Iron oxide