Cationic (Basic) dye complex pigments

Robert Christie*, Adrian Abel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cationic (or basic) dye complex pigments are classical organic pigments obtained from water-soluble cationic dyes for textiles, mainly of triarylmethine (arylcarbonium ion) types, which are precipitated using large inorganic counterions, especially those derived from heteropolyacids such as phosphotungstomolybdic acid or, to a certain extent, using the counteranion derived from copper ferrocyanide. This range of pigments includes red, violet, blue and green products, offering brilliant shades, high color strength and good transparency. They are well suited to printing ink applications, although they provide only moderate levels of fastness properties. The pigments are synthesized by treating aqueous solutions of the dyes under highly controlled conditions with solutions of the heteropolyacids, prepared in situ. The copper ferrocyanide salts are obtained by treatment of potassium ferrocyanide with sodium sulfite in water, and subsequently with solutions of the cationic dye and copper (II) sulfate. The pigments are primarily used in inks for packaging and advertising materials. However, they have little use outside printing inks. Reflex or alkali blue pigments are structurally related cationic dye derivatives which are inner salts of the dye structures and are also used in printing inks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-567
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Sciences Reviews
Issue number10
Early online date29 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • alkali blue
  • arylcarbonium ion
  • basic dye complex
  • cationic dye complex
  • copper ferrocyanide
  • heteropolyacids
  • phosphomolybdate
  • phosphotungstate
  • phosphotungstomolybdate
  • reflex blue
  • triarylmethine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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