Robotic researchers: The extended Arm of the chemist

It is the ideal chemistry assistant: He works almost 22 hours at a stretch without a break and without a murmur. When a synthesis fails, he mixes the chemicals

Robotic researchers: The extended Arm of the chemist

It is the ideal chemistry assistant: He works almost 22 hours at a stretch without a break and without a murmur. When a synthesis fails, he mixes the chemicals for so long until the desired product is present, even if it takes days. All the handles he's done independently, even in the dark he can find his way. Behind this area, researchers are hiding – and guess what only easily a robot is.

Manfred Lindinger

editor in the Department "nature and science".

F. A. Z.

was Developed by researchers from the University of Liverpool have him to automate with the goal, not the instruments, as well as the synthesis and analysis steps, as it already repeatedly happened, but the researchers themselves. For the synthesis of a new catalyst for the production of hydrogen, the robot took only eight days, write to Andrew Cooper and his colleagues in the journal "Nature". A human chemist would have need for the same task for several months.

one Enters the chemical laboratory at the Leverhulme Center for Functional Materials in Liverpool, you will encounter an approximately 1.75 meters large mobile robotic arm, the curves on one set of wheels between the lab tables and shelves of the 7 times 11 meters large room back and forth. The arm weighs a number of powdered chemicals, it fills in the vial, is added various solvents, a mixer, adds one or more substances, makes several Attempts and finally controls an analysis device that examines the samples and their chemical effectiveness. A total of eight stations, the robot must start during a synthesis.

The robot conducts research independently, even in the dark

To find your way around, spacing them precisely, and access to estimate, without breaking something, uses the robot touch sensors and laser beams, with which he scans the surroundings. As a result, the machine can work even at night without any lighting. After 22 hours, the batteries need to be charged, according to the researchers.

The scientists Cooper can stay safely in the Background, after all, they are not used by the machine. He can perform all his tasks without any foreign assistance, including the analysis and Interpretation of the data obtained. Pretend, the researchers only need to the to be tested hypotheses. A self-learning algorithm designs the strategy, as the robot has in its synthesis to proceed. There are a number of chemical robots already exist, however it is mainly automated stationary laboratories. The System is from Liverpool, the researchers, the first mobile chemistry robot.

More time to Think

The task that the scientists of your robot, the search for a catalyst that splits water as efficiently as possible with the help of light into its components, hydrogen and oxygen. It of the machine have been given some of the candidates with a certain catalytic activity, and a number of additional chemicals. The robot should combine the substances and so optimize long, until the desired catalyst was obtained. Eight days – including load times was employed for the robot. In this time he has led a total of 688 experiments, full led 6500 movements and lay back in his laboratory, around 2.2 kilometres. In the end, he gave a catalyst for the photochemical reaction in his gripping hands, produced six times as much hydrogen as the best candidates, with which the robot had begun its experiments.

Updated Date: 11 July 2020, 16:19

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