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Table of colors characteristic for selected ions
Table shows solutions color characteristic to given ions (cations or anions) such as Cu2+ (blue) or MNO4- (purple).

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Solution color

IonSolution colorNotice
Show sourceAg+Ag^{+}colorless-
Show sourceMn2+Mn^{2+}light pink-
Show sourceAu3+Au^{3+}yellow or orangedepending on the combination dissolved in water
Show sourceMn3+Mn^{3+}red-
Show sourceCd2+Cd^{2+}colorless-
Show sourceMnO4MnO_4^{-}purple-
Show sourceMnO42MnO_4^{2-}green-
Show sourceMnO43MnO_4^{3-}blue-
Show sourceCe3+Ce^{3+}colorless-
Show sourceCe4+Ce^{4+}yellow-
Show sourceCo2+Co^{2+}pink-
Show sourceCo3+Co^{3+}orange-
Show sourceMo3+Mo^{3+}yellow-
Show sourceMoO2+MoO^{2+}pink-
Show sourceCr2+Cr^{2+}blue-
Show sourceCr2O72Cr_2O_7^{2-}orange-
Show sourceCrO42CrO_4^{2-}yellow-
Show sourceCr3+Cr^{3+}purple-
Show sourceNi2+Ni^{2+}green-
Show sourcePd2+Pd^{2+}yellow or reddepending on the combination dissolved in water
Show sourcePt2+Pt^{2+}yellow or reddepending on the combination dissolved in water
Show sourceCu2+Cu^{2+}blue-
Show sourceCu3+Cu^{3+}yellow-
Show sourcePt4+Pt^{4+}yellow or reddepending on the combination dissolved in water
Show sourceRe3+Re^{3+}red-
Show sourceFe2+Fe^{2+}pale green-
Show sourceFeO42FeO_4^{2-}red-purple-
Show sourceReO4ReO_4^{-}colorless-
Show sourceRh3+Rh^{3+}yellow or reddepending on the combination dissolved in water
Show sourceRh4+Rh^{4+}green-
Show sourceHg2+Hg^{2+}colorless-
Show sourceHg22+Hg_2^{2+}colorless-
Show sourceV2+V^{2+}purple-
Show sourceV3+V^{3+}cyan-
Show sourceIr3+Ir^{3+}yellow-green-
Show sourceIr4+Ir^{4+}yellow, red or purpledepending on the combination dissolved in water
Show sourceVO2+VO^{2+}blue-
Show sourceZn2+Zn^{2+}colorless-
Show sourceLa3+La^{3+}colorless-

Some facts

  • The presence of ions (cations or anions) of some metals results in a characteristic coloration of the solution.
  • The change in the solution color results from selective (i.e. only within selected wavelength range) absorption of light during its contact with the solution. For example, if we remove the range related with green color from the white light (i.e. the whole spectrum), we obtain a pink color.
  • The observed color of the solution may differ not only depending on the content of a given ion, but also on its concentration. For example, a concentrated solution of potassium permanganate (KMnO4) is almost black, while at low concentration, we notice a pale pink color.
  • The ability of some ions to absorb light of a specific wavelength can be used to measure the concentration of a given ion in the solution (i.e. to perform so-called quantitative analysis). The basis for this measurement is the Lambert-Beer Law:
    A=kclA = kcl
    where:
    • A - absorbance,
    • k - proportionality coefficient,
    • c - concentration of ion,
    • l - the thickness of the absorbing layer (the way it overcomes the radiation passing through the solution).
    From the point of view of quantitative analysis, the key point is that the amount of absorbed light depends linearly on the ion concentration.

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