Metal complex pigments

Robert Christie*, Adrian Abel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are several commercially significant metal complex organic pigments that are based on first row transition metals. The most important of these are the copper phthalocyanine blue and green pigments which find virtually universal use in paints, printing inks, and plastics. These pigments are of such prime importance that they are dealt with separately in three other chapters in this series. This paper describes a group of pigments that are complexes of iron, copper, nickel, and cobalt with polydentate colored ligands of azo, azomethine, oxime, and isoindoline chemical types. The oldest metal complex organic pigment that still finds some use is CI Pigment Green 8, an octahedral oxime iron complex. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was considerable industrial research effort aimed at developing metal complex pigments based on azomethine and isoindoline structures, many of which were found to offer excellent lightfastness, good solvent resistance and thermal stability, although they exhibited rather dull colors. However, several products provide brilliant effects when used in combination with metallic and pearlescent pigments in automotive paints. Many of the pigments introduced have since been withdrawn by the original manufacturers, but a few remain on the market. The synthesis of metal complex pigments generally involves the preparation of the colored ligand, which is then complexed with the transition metal ion

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-389
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical Sciences Reviews
Issue number9
Early online date1 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • azo metal complex pigments
  • azomethine metal complex pigments
  • chelates
  • CI Pigment Green 10
  • CI Pigment Green 8
  • CI Pigment Orange 59
  • CI Pigment Orange 65
  • CI Pigment Orange 68
  • CI Pigment Red 257
  • CI Pigment Yellow 117
  • CI Pigment Yellow 129
  • CI Pigment Yellow 150
  • CI Pigment Yellow 153
  • CI Pigment Yellow 177
  • CI Pigment Yellow 179
  • coordination compounds
  • isoindoline metal complex pigments
  • metal complex pigments
  • mordants
  • oxime metal complex pigments
  • transition metal complexes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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