The intelligence of colors

Modulating the optical response of materials

At OliKrom, we have deliberately combined the words "intelligence" and "color" to define our unique expertise: the art of making colors speak to track, inform, amplify, camouflage,...

This know-how allows us to control color and program the material to create custom-made smart coatings: paint, ink...

A breakthrough innovation

This art of transforming colors in intelligence, adapting it or substituting it, is the result of more than 15 years of fundamental and applied research in material sciences and phase transition phenomena.

Depending on the industrial needs of our partners (visual detection by the eyes of a human being and/or a device and/or an animal), we adapt the optical response of the materials to create a personalized visual dialogue.

Create an interaction with the materials that surround us

Visual detection by the human eye

Color is a part of our language and culture. Each color has a wavelength, and each color affects our attention in a different ways. Nevertheless, the ability of a human being to distinguish a color or a luminosity varies according to his age and the light intensity emitted by his immediate environment.

For our teams, working on smart colors implies modulating the optical response of materials according to the predominant process: scotopic vision (night view), mesopic vision (twilight view), photopic vision (day view) or glare effect.


We adjust the photochemical cascade of the pigment(s), the quantum yield, the excitation and emission wavelengths, the shape of each potential well, the luminescence processes involved (fluorescence/phosphorescence), the the time dependency.

Signal processing can be used to detect a color switching for industrial safety purposes. In this context, our teams calibrate the optical modulation of the material to respond to the desired energy source: temperature, light, pressure, etc. Signal processing is carried out at the molecular level to control the switching properties: reversibility (or irreversibility), memory effect, energy threshold, choice of colors, etc.

Other needs based on intelligence color concern the perception of an object or a product according to the light intensity emitted by its environment. The stakes (and the uses) are multiple: to reinforce visibility at night (road safety, sea rescue...), or to modify the perception during the day to enhance a color (aestheticism, luxury, cosmetics, watchmaking...).

Visual detection by a device

The richness of our technological bricks offers multiple opportunities to create an optical modulation: a color and/or a luminescence change detectable by a machine, a sensor, a robot, a camera, a drone, a satellite...


To provide information and create this optical material-machine interaction, our scientific engineers program the optical response of the material. This involves real information processing on a molecular scale to select the right effect, the right absorption and/or emission wavelength, the sensitivity of the detection thresholds, the triggering speed, not forgetting all the business constraints inherent to the targeted sector of activity.

This is a rapidly expanding field of application. Our researchers on intelligence color are involved in many innovative projects associated with Industry 4.0, predictive maintenance, production process automation, future mobility...

For example, OliKrom has been selected by GRTgaz to develop a breakthrough technology in the field of gas leak monitoring by drone.

Visual detection by the animal eye


The possibilities in this scientific sector are numerous. They have the common goal of creating an interaction with the animal kingdom, where each species has its own particularities: vision of colors, contrasts, intensity.

The cat, for example, has excellent vision that allows it to perceive ultraviolet light. Other species are short-sighted but sensitive to light.

This is a challenge that our research and development teams have taken up. This requires us to customize the chemical composition of intelligent materials to modulate the optical response according to the stimulus and the target species.

As a committed company, our actions are voluntarily dedicated to improving animal welfare and protecting animals. For example, our Research Department is currently working to create a virtual barrier to prevent wild boar and deer from crossing a road.

Bringing intelligence to color

1st step: program the change of ownership

Like an electronic engineer, we program the material according to the industrial need. We adjust the reactivity of the material (color change, luminescence) according to the external parameter to be monitored, to be controlled: temperature, light, pressure, gas...

We then adapt the choice of colors, the targeted triggering threshold, the reversibility/irreversibility, the switching time, etc.

2nd step: change the color at the right optical frequency

The second step is to modulate the material to obtain the right detection according to the target: human eye, device, animal eye. This requires to adapt the optical modulation of the material to the chosen frequency: ultraviolet, visible, infrared.

We create a controlled custom interaction between the "emitting" coating and the "receiving" target (eye or sensor).

Result: we obtain an smart material with a new function

The material is custom-programmed according to the industrial need based on intelligence color: to amplify (or on the contrary to camouflage) the aspect of an article / product, to substitute certain components, to inform and to raise a signal of alert, of good use, to create an anti-counterfeiting security key etc.