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OliKrom, intelligent pigments made to measure

Today, with intelligent materials, including the pigments produced by OliKrom, we are initiating a new and very important revolution," says Jean-François Létard, CNRS research director at the ICMCB (Bordeaux Institute of Chemistry and Condensed Matter, a CNRS unit). In 2005, with the ICMCB's Molecular Sciences group, which conducts research on switching, we found a new family of pigments that change color depending on temperature, light and/or pressure, irreversibly or not."

Since then, eight CNRS patents have been filed internationally, because the field of possibilities is infinite. Like a sensitive skin, these intelligent pigments develop a sensory faculty and can therefore signal if a change has occurred in their environment. Security, packaging, intelligent textiles, aeronautics, composites... the applications are numerous.

But," insists Jean-François Létard, "everything starts with fundamental research. This is the strength of a transfer unit. It allows us to combine two different professions: on the one hand, the supporting laboratory, which is constrained by the need to understand the science; on the other, industry, which is constrained by time and economic constraints. Thus, the OliKrom transfer unit, hosted by Adera and supported by the Aquitaine Region, can rely on research while speaking the same language as the industry. So we produce custom-made intelligent pigments according to their needs. The added value is then obvious: "It is vital to have transfer cells, because these innovations, directly from the laboratories, are job creators."

*OliKrom was awarded the Emergence prize by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research in 2012. And OliKrom's scientific director, Jean-François Létard, is one of the eighteen innovative project managers who joined HEC's Challenge+ training program in 2013. Proof of the innovation and added value of the OliKrom technology transfer unit.