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Digital Discovery and Design: the new age of materials on demand

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2nd BP Lecture 2014

From the Stone Age, to the Bronze Age, to the Iron Age, to the Plastics Age, to the Information (Silicon) Age, the materials available to humankind define the world we live in. Recently, unprecedented computer capabilities driven, in part, by the desire for better and faster video game graphics have found their way onto the computational scientist’s workbench. These new capabilities are changing the course of materials research, making possible the discovery of new and complex materials designed and engineered with specific properties and functionalities in mind. In particular, they are enabling the birth of assembly engineering – a new design/optimization approach to materials fabrication that contributes to the new trend of additive manufacturing. In this talk, we discuss breakthroughs from the field of nanotechnology, where nanoparticles are designed to assemble – like atoms, molecules, proteins, and viruses – into complex crystals when thermodynamic and kinetic conditions are optimized. These examples demonstrate how recent advances in computers are bringing us into a new Age where materials are digitally discovered and designed on demand. In this new Age of Materials on Demand, the world will be shaped not by the discovery of a single material that enables a host of new technologies, but by the design of a host of materials demanded by the conception of new technologies.

This talk is part of the Materials Chemistry Research Interest Group series.

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