Research Department

Scientific innovation at the heart of OliKrom's strategy

We place innovation and the mastery of intelligent materials at the heart of our strategy. Each year, more than 30% of our investments are devoted to research and development.

The ambition of our R&D department is to always be at the forefront of smart materials. We are constantly improving our technologies to offer you the best solution.

A team of experts in smart materials science

A team of experts

Our R&D team consists of PhDs and engineers with expertise in chemistry, physical chemistry, photochemistry and thermodynamics of phase transition phenomena.

Through these skills, our department is committed to scientific excellence and creativity to develop the best innovative technologies with color change or optimized luminescence properties.

Over the years, we have acquired a unique know-how, that of "making colors talk", of programming colors in a customized way.

This expertise in color intelligence allows our teams to innovate daily to meet new uses. We implement new synthetic ways (organic, hybrid, inorganic) and develop new intelligent pigments by adjusting the switching speed, the triggering threshold, the optical contrast, etc. to create every day new safety features and innovative solutions in response to environmental or performance issues.

Each year, more than 40% of our developments are carried out internationally.

A 90% success rate for our proofs of concept

Today, more than 70 industrialists from all sectors trust us every year. Beyond this recognition, our greatest pride is to succeed in our proofs of concept 9 times out of 10.

This performance validates our methodology and the rigor that drives us.

The agility of our teams allows us to be an integral part of complex developments over several years as well as the launch of new collections in extremely short time frames.

 

The rise in TRL

The TRL (Technology readiness level) increase, a proven process

Our R&D department is the first actor to take part in the development process. The other OliKrom units, the Process Department, the Production Unit and the Assistance & Consulting Center, will then take over.

At each stage, our mission is to advise you in order to make the right choice, to evaluate your request and its options in order to find the best compromise between the expression of your needs and the real potential of intelligent materials, to transform your projects into products in the shortest possible time!

In this speed race for innovation, we regularly exchange with your teams to anticipate any future difficulties in the industrial integration of your product. We also guarantee the utmost confidentiality to our industrial partners by signing non-disclosure agreements (NDA), research and development contracts or supply contracts.

This culture of pragmatic innovation allows us to have technologies already on the market and others in the imminent marketing phase. A whole series of projects are already preparing our future growth drivers.

 

The main stages of a rise in maturity (TRL 1 to 3-4)

The bibliographic study

The bibliographic study

Depending on the type of your request, the first step entrusted to our research laboratory is often the state of the art. This is an excellent tool to evaluate the relevance of a breakthrough innovation.

This state of the art is carried out from international databases of scientific journals, patents and economic data.

At the end of this study, our research and development team analyzes all the scientific works and presents you with a hierarchy of data and potential solutions according to technical feasibility, economic dimension, regulatory constraints, etc.

This allows our engineers to identify an "embryo" of a solution, to evaluate the existence, or not, of a basis, more or less remote, to obtain the desired property.

The proof of concept

The proof of concept

The next step is the proof of concept. This feasibility study takes place either at the end of the state of the art, or directly after the realization of the specifications of the future product.

To carry out our innovation process, the first phase of the proof of concept is voluntarily divergent, without constraints or brakes. The aim is to allow the first steps towards feasibility to germinate, without any constraints. Generally, our R&D teams explore a multitude of synthetic routes, classes of materials, intelligent properties... This freedom is essential to hatch "the" solution to your problem.

Once this solution has been identified, it is challenged, amended and modified. We then enter the second phase of the proof of concept, the convergent approach known as "constraint": our team makes the necessary modifications to integrate part of the technical, economic and environmental constraints of your request and thus validate its feasibility.

The optimization stage

The optimization stage

This time, the objective is to be as close as possible to your specifications. Our R&D engineers fine-tune "the solution" by integrating one by one the technical, economic, regulatory and environmental constraints related to the project.

This leads our research team, for example, to modify the elementary bricks to optimize the switching threshold of the optical properties according to the targeted external stimulus: temperature, light, pressure, presence of a solvent, a gas, or a pH variation. In other cases, we have to rework the optical response: absorption, excitation, emission wavelength.

Sometimes, we have to completely revisit the scientific concept identified during the "proof of concept", and modify the chemistry involved to satisfy economic and/or environmental constraints (origin and/or nature of raw materials).

This is a real engineering process that allows us to program the molecular entity at the base of the intelligent material and to take into account the dimensions of a project. This process requires several "round trips" between the synthesis and characterization phases to finely optimize the material with the optimal targeted property.

Our technical platform of Research & Development

Our department has a technical platform of more than 1000 m2. Our laboratory is equipped with the necessary equipment to carry out organic, hybrid and inorganic syntheses:

  • Chemical reactors, stirrers, mills, mixers,
  • Muffle ovens (high temperature), Centrifuges,
  • Suction hoods, Ovens...

We also have a range of equipment for characterization of very high scientific level. The properties of intelligent materials with color changes and luminescence are studied using specific equipment:

  • Absorption spectrometer, fluorometer, lidar,
  • Colorimeter, luxmeter, reflectivity, retroreflectometer,
  • Viscosimeter, rheometer, microscope,
  • UV aging chambers, elimination chambers,
  • Taber abrasion tester, ball dropping device...