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How color absorbed determines the color observed

A material that selectively absorbs blue light won't look blue. The colors that are not absorbed are what we see. The observed color is said to be the complement of the absorbed color. For example, dichromate ions absorbs blue light, so their solutions appear orange. Permanganate ions absorb green light, so permanganate solutions are purple.

Color absorbedColor observed
VioletYellowGreen
Blue VioletYellow
BlueOrange
BlueGreenRed
GreenPurple
YellowGreenViolet
YellowBlue Violet
Orange Blue
Red Bluegreen


General Chemistry Online! Color complements

Copyright © 1997-2010 by Fred Senese
Comments & questions to fsenese@frostburg.edu
Last Revised 08/17/15.URL: http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/features/color-complement.shtml