Synthetic Materials are ubiquitous in the world around us; increasingly complex materials are used in applications ranging from microprocessors and smart phones to batteries and composite airplanes. Yet, promising discoveries of new materials through basic research rarely make it into products, due to numerous "last mile" translation hurdles related to economic viability, manufacturing complexity or product toxicity. Even when successful, development and processing of new materials from concept to product is extremely time- and capital-intensive. It often takes billions of dollars and over a decade to go from conceptualization of a new material to development in a product.
We work with a network of academic and research labs to help our customers develop new, lower cost, higher performance materials for their products and to accelerate the long route from material conceptualization to real applications at scale. Our goal is to design new materials that are non-toxic, less energy-intensive, viable for commercial scale use in products and recyclable or reusable. There are three key pillars to our approach:
Working with a network of partners at “Pasteur’s Quadrant” of use-inspired research: We work with our industrial partners to solve clearly defined commercial problems - many of which require breakthroughs in basic science. To do so, we engage the specific academic collaborators in our network who are best positioned to address each challenge. By working at the Pasteur's Quadrant of use-inspired research, we help industrial partners optimize their R&D budgets, while also helping academic labs work on basic research that has immediate practical relevance.
Using technology to optimize the trade-offs between different material attributes: Practical discovery and design of materials are confounded by several difficulties in research, translation, and in applications. Our decades-long experience working at the interface between R&D and product teams in large corporations provides us with a unique vantage point to anticipate, and design around, potential downstream manufacturing challenges from the upstream R&D process.
Using technology to optimize the trade-offs between different material attributes, we use a combination of measurement capabilities, synthesis/processing techniques, theoretical methods and advanced computer-aided analysis, including machine-learning methods, which are specifically geared towards designing the custom material for practical needs. We believe that our approach is faster, more effective, and more efficient, since we understand what methods and expertise are needed to bring commercially viable materials to market under efficacy, time, and practical constraints.
A data driven approach to Sustainability: Limited data on material toxicity, which can undermine human health and degrade the environment, has made it harder to understand the appropriate integration of materials into products. Our goal is to develop a deeper understanding of material toxicity and incorporate this intelligence into our design of new materials.
We believe that sustained efforts in these areas will accelerate materials-driven technology revolutions well into the 21st century, making this an exciting period in the nexus of science, engineering, and society.