Jul 14, 2020

This Robotic Chemist Does Over 600 Experiments a Week and Learns From Its Own Work

Posted by in categories: chemistry, information science, robotics/AI

The 400 kilogram wheeled system moves about the lab guided by LIDAR laser scanners and has an industrial robotic arm made by German firm Kuka that it uses to carry out tasks like weighing out solids, dispensing liquids, removing air from the vessel, and interacting with other pieces of equipment.

In a paper in Nature, the team describes how they put the device to work trying to find catalysts that speed up reactions that use light to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. To do this, the robot used a search algorithm to decide how to combine a variety of different chemicals and updated its plans based on the results of previous experiments.

The robot carried out 688 experiments over 8 days, working for 172 out of 192 hours, and at the end it had found a catalyst that produced hydrogen 6 times faster than the one it started out with.

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