Robot Scientist Makes New Catalyst Discovery

Dec. 28, 2020
An intelligent mobile robot scientist autonomously discovered a catalyst that is six times more active.

An intelligent mobile robot chemist that roams the laboratory alongside a human team at the University of Liverpool is credited with discovering a new catalyst, according to an article from Lab+Life Scientist. Researchers at the university built the 5-1/2-foot tall, almost 900-pound robot, which is reportedly the first of its kind – able to work nearly 24 hours a day and carry out experiments autonomously.

Other robots used in chemistry research are typically hardwired to a specific experiment, according to the article, while the University of Liverpool’s “lab partner” can move around the lab performing a wide range of tasks and operating the lab equipment. The robot was reportedly designed to assist the team in their work developing photocatalysts. While using a search algorithm to “navigate a 10-dimensional space of more than 98 million candidate experiments, deciding on the best experiment to do next based on the outcomes of the previous ones,” the robot discovered a catalyst that is six times more active, with no assist from the human research team, according to the article. Still, the robot reportedly won’t be replacing his human counterparts anytime soon as it still needs scientists to devise the experiments.

Read the entire article here.