A curious formulation robot enables the discovery of a novel proto-cell behaviour

Grizou, J., Points, L. J., Sharma, A. and Cronin, L. (2020) A curious formulation robot enables the discovery of a novel proto-cell behaviour. Science Advances, 6(5), eaay4237. (doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aay4237)

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Abstract

We describe a chemical robotic assistant equipped with a curiosity algorithm (CA) that can efficiently explore the states a complex chemical system can exhibit. The CA-robot is designed to explore formulations in an open-ended way with no explicit optimization target. By applying the CA-robot to the study of self-propelling multicomponent oil-in-water protocell droplets, we are able to observe an order of magnitude more variety in droplet behaviors than possible with a random parameter search and given the same budget. We demonstrate that the CA-robot enabled the observation of a sudden and highly specific response of droplets to slight temperature changes. Six modes of self-propelled droplet motion were identified and classified using a time-temperature phase diagram and probed using a variety of techniques including NMR. This work illustrates how CAs can make better use of a limited experimental budget and significantly increase the rate of unpredictable observations, leading to new discoveries with potential applications in formulation chemistry.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sharma, Mr Abhishek and Points, Mr Laurie and Grizou, Dr Jonathan and Cronin, Professor Lee
Authors: Grizou, J., Points, L. J., Sharma, A., and Cronin, L.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Science Advances
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:2375-2548
ISSN (Online):2375-2548
Published Online:31 January 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Science Advances 6(5):eaay4237
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
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