Science is on brink of a materials revolution

Image credit: Octavio Fossatti on Unsplash

Ability to control subatomic ‘spin’ crucial to designing advanced new materials set to change the world

Imagine a world where super-strong, super-light, flexible, durable new materials, which don’t exist in nature could be made to order. New breakthroughs in the understanding of “spin”, a characteristic of subatomic particles — like mass and charge — mean we are on the brink of such a revolution.

Prof Alessandro Lunghi, a physicist at Trinity College Dublin: “The ability to control spin, one of the fundamental properties of particles, is crucial to us being able to design advanced new materials that will change the world. There are an infinite number of molecules and compounds that make up materials, which we can produce in the lab, but we want to focus on developing the ones that are most promising, and to do this faster.” The goal of Lunghi and his colleagues is to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to look at information, accumulated over many decades of particle research and processes it in more clever ways. “That means instead of reading an endless number of scientific papers to try and come up with a ‘recipe’ for new materials, we use computers to do that.

Advances in scientific studies combined with the utilisation of AI in research processes, is forecast to accelerate the emergence of new discoveries in transforming our material landscape.
How can we begin to imagine the manufacturing industry evolving in a world where materials can be made to order with the desired characteristics and requirements?