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The Laboratory of the Future UMR 5258 was created between Rhodia, CNRS, and the University Bordeaux-1, with the goal to bring new tools and methodologies to research laboratories that can be applied for industrials purposes but can simultaneously raise new scientific problems for the academic people.

From the industrial part, we have aimed at setting up tools and databases in order to conduct high throughput experiments that can allow a ten to one thousand-fold increase (depending on the tools) in the capacity to obtain reliable results. This activity has been dedicated to the acquisition of basic data for processes, acquisition of phase diagrams, screening of formulations for applications, kinetics measurements, and rheological measurements. Robotics and Microfluidics have been used to reach this goal.

The set up of these devices has been made through fruitful exchanges between Rhodia and academic people. This work has addressed numerous academic questions. The following sections at the bottom of this page detail the research areas done in the LOF during the last 4 years and give some examples illustrating them.

This work has been successful not only from an academic point of view but also from a R&D and social view point : 14 patents have been filed and we are presently working on licensing some of our technologies to a company that aims at commercializing these microfluidic devices.

At this stage, we plan to give a new orientation to the main axis of the academic part of our laboratory. Energy, sustainability in chemistry and processes are at the heart of economical and societal problems. We have decided to focus our efforts on advanced projects in line with these concerns : chemical enhanced oil recovery, new materials for catalysis, CO2 capture, and basic data for sustainable processes. The majority of these projects are clearly at the heart of Rhodia research (i.e. chemical enhanced oil recovery), some represent ground works that may guide the development of Rhodia and other industrial companies in the next decades. Focused on these themes, the project for the Laboratory of the Future 2010 � ?? 2014 will aim at capitalizing on the very deep and broad expertise that has been developed in its first four years of existence, through robotics and micro/millifluidics to address the new projects. The development and improvement of tools for high throughput screening adapted to basic data acquisitions for processes and properties evaluation will remain an important subject in charge of the Rhodia people. The subjects we plan to work on represent the significant following challenges :

1. Control and management of Complex Fluids at the micronic scale.

2. Shaping of soft condensed matter to design Functional Materials.

3. Microchemistry dedicated to sustainable syntheses of fine chemicals, polymers and hybrids and to data acquisition.

Finally, Rhodia teams will continue to work on the development of specific projects using adapted micro- and millifluidic tools, automated platforms, database resources, etc. We will continue these activities where we provide to other Rhodia teams data, technologies, and expertise for high throughput testing such as formulations for home and personal care applications, development of applicability tools for rapid screening, IR thermography for the characterization of surface reactivity in catalysis, evaluation of new solvents activity, etc. We also accumulate basic data for processes for polyamide intermediate synthesis or for organic or inorganic chemistry synthesis.

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