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The University of Southampton

A material world

Revolutionising new materials discovery

1 November 2021

Advanced materials are needed in almost all aspects of our lives – including healthcare, energy generation, data storage and pollution control. The current ‘trial and error’ method of discovering new materials is on the road to being revolutionised thanks to Southampton research.

The process of discovering new materials can take years. It’s laborious, time consuming and potentially limited by scientists’ existing knowledge and expectations. Plus it’s often a case of trial and error.

The ADAM (Autonomous Discovery of Advanced Materials) project is stepping in to disrupt that. The €10m research project is on its way to automating materials discovery, combining pioneering computational methods with automation and robotics to overcome many barriers to fast and uninhibited breakthroughs.

Graeme Day , Professor of Chemical Modelling, is leading the ADAM project, which started in 2020 and is funded for six years. He’s working alongside Professor Andy Cooper from the University of Liverpool and Professor Kerstin Thurow from the University of Rostock in Germany.

Computational chemistry modelling and machine learning expertise at Southampton will be combined with expertise in the synthesis and characterisation of new materials at Liverpool and robotic and automation expertise at Rostock.

The idea is to automate as much of the materials discovery process as we can, freeing up more of the researcher’s time for coming up with new ideas, which can be handed over to the computational-robot system to explore.

Graeme Day - Professor of Chemical Modelling

Read the full story in Re:action, the University’s research and enterprise magazine.

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