IBM RoboRXN: Making a new material, without ever going into the lab.
*Comparison of historical synthetic efforts (person-decades) with the typical retrosynthetic prediction (minutes)
Synthesizing and testing a new material is often the biggest bottleneck in the discovery process. On top of requiring whole teams of devoted technicians, it can take years to identify and produce the appropriate chemicals, conditions, and reactions to properly carry out the synthesis.
IBM RoboRXN, our cloud-based AI-driven lab, cuts through these obstacles by efficiently automating a majority of the initial groundwork in materials synthesis, making it possible for scientists to synthesize materials remotely.
How it works
Scientists identify the molecule. Our integrated lab figures out the recipe, and makes it.
Synthesizing a new material is not unlike baking. Once you’ve decided on what you want to make, the next step is determining the appropriate ingredients and recipe. It’s a matter of figuring out the right sequence, conditions, and ratios to bring everything together.
AI radically accelerates chemical “recipe development.” Through a process called “retrosynthetic analysis,” a researcher simply uploads the desired material to the IBM cloud, and our system will use an AI model to break the molecule down into a chemical recipe, while also identifying a set of commercially available ingredients to be used in the synthesis process.
The recipe is then automatically executed by a robotic autonomous lab. In literally minutes, the drafted molecule becomes a reality. It once took decades to find out how to synthesize a new material; AI accelerates every step of this process, from conception to execution.
Reverse-engineering the recipe
Scientists upload the molecule to the IBM RoboRXN cloud.
An AI model trained on over 3 million chemical reactions (derived from patents) quickly breaks the molecule down into a series of reactions and ingredients.
The AI model determines if the necessary ingredients are commercially available. If not, it will keep breaking the ingredients down until it gets to commonly available components.
The model will also present multiple possible ingredient/sequence combinations for scientists to pick from and refine according to their expertise.
Instructions for robots
Once the recipe is ready, the AI engine translates it into a series of detailed steps (including time, temperature, order, etc.) that are sent via the cloud to our robotic autonomous lab for execution.
Scientists can remotely monitor the synthesis and verify the results with online automated analytical instruments.
Getting from molecular design to reality at record speed. Our AI-driven autonomous lab combines the brainpower of AI, the speed and precision of robotic automation, and the seamlessness of cloud
integration to deliver an accelerated, end-to-end material synthesis process. With fewer logistical roadblocks in the way, scientists can get to final products faster than ever.