Sparxell’s technology is based on the latest material science innovation. As a spin-out from the University of Cambridge, our patented foundational research has been published in Nature Materials, where more information can be found.
1 Cellulose rich sources such as wood pulp provide the building blocks of Sparxell’s pigments and glitter. The core crystalline part of cellulose is extracted from these sources and dispersed into water randomly.
2 After prepping the cellulose crystals in water, they self assemble from a chaotic (isotropic) configuration into an ordered (cholesteric) state upon drying. Using our patented technology, the densely packed crystals now forms a film that reflects light and colour over a large area.
3 By controlling the interactions between the crystals, the cellulose film can be tailor-made to match a specific appearance. The film can then be ground and shaped into a range of sizes and forms —voilà! This is how we replicate nature’s most vibrant colours and effects.
Professor Silvia Vignolini, Sparxell’s Chief Scientific Advisor, first encountered the fruits of Polia condensata (pictured) in the collection of the British Museum. More than a century after they were first collected, their colours were as vibrant as the day they were picked.
It turns out that the colour vividness occurs because of the peculiar arrangement of the cellulose chains in the cell wall of the fruits, giving the fruit an intense structural colouration—one of the brightest colours of all biological materials.
Many brightly coloured plants and animals, including some birds, butterflies, and beetles, evolved intricate and sometimes highly elaborate microscale arrangements to achieve striking colours and effects.
Dr Benjamin Droguet, Sparxell’s Founder & CEO, worked as part Professor Vignolini’s group at the University of Cambridge to demonstrate the use of industrial machinery to replicate the same vibrant colours found in nature using plant-based cellulose.
Sparxell was then born to provide nature’s most exquisite and sustainable colours at commercial scale.
Sparxell’s sustainable technology has received numerous awards and mentions.