Paintable Optical Coatings

Cypris Materials creates paintable coatings which can selectively reflect ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared radiation. It is looking to apply colorless and transparent infrared reflecting coatings where solar heat gain is a major problem, such as the building envelope. Additionally, Cypris is looking at applications for visible light reflecting coatings as a replacement for persistent and toxic pigments and dyes.


Ryan Pearson and Matthew Ryan

Ryan Pearson and Matthew Ryan

For the last decade, Cypris Materials’ co-founders have been developing rapidly self-assembling reflective materials and combining their experience and core expertise in synthetic polymer chemistry, catalysis, and materials science. Fellows Ryan Pearson and Matthew Ryan first met while earning their Ph.D.’s in materials chemistry. During their graduate careers they worked with their co-founders: professor Garret Miyake, professor and Nobel laureate Robert Grubbs, as well as Cyclotron Road Cohort One fellow and CEO of polySpectra, Raymond Weitekamp. The team used an ARPA-E award to develop a paintable, transparent, and heat-reflective window retrofit.

In addition to the ARPA-E award, Cypris Materials has received Colorado’s Advanced Industries Proof of Concept Grant. The startup was part of Creative Destruction Lab’s Cohort Two in the Rockies Prime Stream, and AkzoNobel’s Paint the Future 2019 accelerator program. Pearson and Ryan are also participating in the 2019 Cleantech to Market course at UC Berkeley Haas Business School.



Critical Need
To generate reflective materials, typically in the form of stand-alone films or vapor-deposited coatings, manufacturers need to use specialized equipment, or process materials at high temperatures for extended periods of time. Cypris’ approach to advanced manufacturing is a bottom-up strategy. It designs architecturally unique polymers to self-assemble into ordered nanostructures, opening up a wide variety of commonly used and scalable coating techniques. This advancement makes Cypris’ reflective coatings useful for applications where applying a film is not possible. The platform technology the startup is developing provides an alternative to multimillion-dollar fabrication equipment — replacing it with a simple paint brush.  

Technology Vision
Cypris Materials’ vision is to design a modular core technology consisting of paintable, self-assembling reflective coatings with tailored optical properties and materials composition. Cypris’ coatings will enable new strategies for heat-mitigation by reflecting ultraviolet and near-infrared radiation from the building envelope, such as through a visibly transparent and colorless coating applied to windows or roofs. In the future, Cypris plans to explore this same technology for applications as a sustainable alternative to pigments and dyes, and as responsive sensors.


To meet this vision, Cypris has developed a unique technology to overcome challenges associated with the production of reflective materials, known as photonic crystals, through bottom-up manufacturing processes, whereas other 1D Photonic crystal films and coatings are typically manufactured through top-down methods such as layer-by-layer deposition or multilayer co-extrusion. Other bottom-up approaches have been attempted, but have historically been associated with high defect rates, short wavelengths of reflection (<700nm), and the need for specialized annealing processes.

Potential for Impact
Air conditioners and electric fans are responsible for 10 percent of all global electricity consumption today, and as incomes and living standards improve in developing countries this number is expected to grow. The ability to retrofit existing infrastructure and greatly simplify the application of solar reflective coatings by both the building owner, professionals, and at the OEM level unlocks a massive market opportunity, and a potential to significantly reduce the cooling loads of buildings in warm climates. 

ryan [at]  cyprismaterials [dot] com