Innovation in Action - Domenic Olivieri

Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2018

By Chelsea Barna

Nic Olivier standing in front of the Dragons Den poster

Domenic Olivieri in the Dragon's Den

Domenic Olivieri, a former Military Space and Flight Systems Engineer with both NASA and the U.S. Air Force, began working at the University of Ottawa in the spring of 1995 as a Lab Administrator.  Under the supervision of Dr. Tet Yeap, and later Dr. Pierre Berini and Dr. Henry Schriemer within the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Domenic pursued research in the area of LASER nonlinear optics.

As one of the founders and current CTO of Crystal Ray Technologies (CRT), Domenic had a vision of bringing lab technology into more mainstream products with the directive of subsidizing research through resource development. To date, CRT has actively surveyed almost 30% of Canada and discovered more than a dozen new optical materials including self-organizing mirrors controlled by chemistry, LASER and nonlinear optical crystals, as well as photo-refractive material (light directly controlling light), with three of these materials up for production patent consideration.

2 intersecting green laser beams

Michelsons Based means to measure magnitude of delta n in photorefractive material, developed at uOttawa

Domenic’s early accomplishments resulted in a product that can directly control AC house power with light, which won him the Dragons Den Shell Energy Challenge in 2011. After completion of the Advanced Research Complex (ARC) in 2014, Domenic began working with Dr. Robert Boyd within the Department of Physics and member of the Centre for Research in Photonics at the University of Ottawa (CRPuO), procuring the LASER Test Stand for students to obtain hands-on LASER testing skills.

In 2016, Domenic received a Max Plank Grant for the development of five prototype devices for use in LASER induced Fluorescence, an example of which was discovered in Noble Pit in New Jersey, his home state. These devices known as Multi Wavelength LASER (MLAS) technology bring the power of lab-based LASER’s into a portable handheld device for use in lab and field-tests. MLAS spans a broad range of colours (2000 to 200nm) at both visible and invisible IR and UV wavelengths, a market first, using LASER Induced Fluorescence (LIF), LASER Differential Absorption (LDA) and Reflection (LDR) technologies for detection and immediate confirmation of various metals and gemstones. The initial MLAS prototype has blossomed into a functional device available for purchase on a small scale, with future applications for drone technology and emissions data for environmental and law enforcement.

 one in normal daylight and one in 250nm illumination resulting in a multi-coloured effect

Noble Pit in Franklin, New Jersey, in daylight and in 250nm illumination

In 2018, Domenic will lead a joint research project between researchers at ARC, CRT and the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) that will attempt to apply Fiber LASER continuum to empower geologic discovery and remote sensing of emissions, with the goal of adapting this technology for use on drones. In addition, Domenic will build on his preceding work to develop products such as LASER based metal assay and rework stations for jewelers, LASER based 2D/3D projection displays, a severe weather-sensing device, as well as the development of LASER Induced Nuclear Decay (LIDs) as a potential game changer for nuclear waste management.

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