The Chemistry and Physics of Special Effect Pigment and Colorants

Columbia University – September 18, 2014 – The AESA NY-NJ Section hosted a lecture on September 18, 2014 at Columbia University entitled “The Chemistry and Physics of Special Effect Pigment and Colorants” presented by Mr. Nurhan Becidyan. Mr. Becidyan

described his experience in utilizing fluorescent and phosphorescent pigments in various commercial applications. His work has focused on the development of

signage for highways and buildings to identifying forgeries in currencies from around the world.


By the use of UV (ultraviolet) or IR (infrared) irradiation, Mr. Becidyan demonstrated the ability to manipulate these pigments to change color before our eyes. A primary example of this is in the use of these pigments in highway signage. In this application, these pigments can be used to help drivers see these signs at night, when of course excited with UV radiation. The radiation causes these pigments to develop bright contrasting colors, which are more visible at night. For security purposes, many nations use these pigments in their currencies that are not visible to the naked eye, but when excited with UV radiation is clearly visible. This has proved to be an effective tool in identifying forgeries of paper money.


Mr. Becidyan has had a long career in this industry with over 40 years of experience. He began his career as a Technical Director and later as Sales Engineer of Sandoz Ltd (now Clariant). In 1986 he joined the United Mineral and Chemical Corporation, an import and distribution company that acts as exclusive importers and distributors for many offshore colorants, high purity metals and chemical companies, where he is currently President. He has an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Robert College, Istanbul Turkey, and a graduate degree in Pulp and Paper Engineering from the Institute of Paper Chemistry, Appleton, Wisconsin.

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