New Artificial Intelligence Tool Speeds Discovery of Truly New Materials

Four new materials have been discovered using the latest artificial intelligence tool.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool created an artificial intelligence tool allowing faster discovery of genuinely new materials.

The discovery of four new materials, including a family of solid-state materials that conduct lithium, was reported in the Nature Communications journal. These solid electrolytes are vital in developing solid-state batteries with a more extended range and excellent safety for electric cars. Other promising materials are being developed.

This tool combines artificial intelligence and human knowledge to identify the areas of chemical space that are most likely to yield new functional materials.

Discovering new functional materials is difficult, risky, complicated, and often very long. An infinite number of materials can be made by combining all elements of the periodic table. And it is still being determined where these new materials are found.

To address this challenge, a team of researchers led by Professor Matt Rosseinsky at the University of Liverpool’s Department of Chemistry and Materials Innovation Factory developed the new AI tool. This tool analyzes relationships between known materials on a scale that is impossible for humans. These relationships can be used to rank and number combinations of elements likely to make new materials. Scientists use these rankings to help them focus their exploration of the vast unknown chemical space. This makes experimental investigation much more efficient. These scientists make the final decision, informed by AI’s different perspectives.

Matt Rosseinsky, the lead author of this paper, stated, “To date, a common, powerful approach to designing new materials has been to analogize existing materials closely, but this often leads us to materials very similar to those we have.”

“We need tools that make it easier to find new materials. Such devices include the one we have developed. It combines both artificial and human intelligence, allowing us to benefit from the best.

“This collaborative approach combines computers’ ability to see the relationships among several hundred thousand materials on a scale unattainable for humans and human researchers’ expert knowledge and critical thinking, which leads to innovative advances.

“This tool is one example of a collaborative artificial intelligence approach that could benefit scientists shortly.”

Our ability to design and manufacture materials with specific functions limits society’s ability to solve global problems like energy and sustainability.

These new materials benefit society by enabling new technologies to address global challenges. They also open up new scientific phenomena and understanding. The materials in lithium-ion batteries are the basis of all modern portable electronics. They were created in the 1980s. This highlights how one class of materials can change how we live. Identifying accelerated routes to new material will allow us to unlock unimaginable technological possibilities in our future.



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