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megatronchote t1_j4hgq7y wrote

There are a lot of benefits to be made if you can control the way the atoms are arranged in a material.

For example if you put all the atoms in a lattice (sort of like a 3D mesh) you get a crystal, if all the atoms in that crystal are carbon you get a Diamond.

But if those same atoms of carbon are all a mess you get coal. So, arrangement matters.

This AI’s are being trained to give us models of the properties that materials would have if we arrange the atoms in different shapes.

Maybe if we make them this way they become more conductive of electricity, or in that other way it makes it more bendy or stretchy or hard.

It is really cool work in my opinion.


Ricky_Rollin t1_j4kq059 wrote

Stupid question here but is this perhaps the first steps into “matter synthesis”. The ability to create just about anything by re-arranging the atoms out of thin air?


megatronchote t1_j4kz3d2 wrote

It is not a stupid question.

Whilst the goal would be to produce those materials in reality and later down the line even mass produce them, there are a few hurdles to overcome.

You can arrange atoms one by one with current technology but as you might imagine that doesn’t scale, so you need a chemical process that produces the desired output, and that can be tricky, to put it mildly.

So, since the efforts and resourses to create a new way to sythetize new materials are huge, the benefit of AI predicted models come in the form of estimating which possible materials have the properties that we are seeking, so less money goes to waste developing ways to create them.

But we are very far away from a Star Trek replicator, sadly.