Ada: Self-Driving Robot for Accelerating the Discovery of Thin Film Materials - Curtis Berlinguette, Professor, UBC

Curtis Berlinguette Image

DATE: Mon, February 1, 2021 - 2:00 pm

LOCATION: Please register to receive the Zoom link


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This presentation will focus on our self-driving laboratory for thin film materials discovery and optimization. Discovering high-performance, low-cost materials is an integral component of technology innovation cycles, particularly in the clean energy sector. The linear methodology currently used to develop optimal materials can take decades, which impedes the translation of innovative technologies from conception to market. Our interdisciplinary team is utilizing advanced robotics, machine learning, and computational screening to overcome this challenge. We are closing the feedback loop in thin film materials research by enabling our self-driving robotics platform named “Ada” to design, perform, and learn from its own experiments efficiently and in real time (Figure 1). As a proof-of-principle set of experiments, I will show how Ada discovers and optimizes high-performance, low-cost hole transport materials for use in advanced solar cells. I will also showcase how Ada’s modular design can enable the automated and autonomous discovery of materials for other clean energy technologies. 

Ada Image

Figure 1. Ada’s autonomous, closed-loop workflow for accelerating the discovery of thin film materials.

Ada: Self-Driving Robot for Accelerating the Discovery of Thin Film Materials

 Curtis P. Berlinguette,a,b,c* Jason E. Hein,a Alán Aspuru-Guzik,d,e Ben P. MacLeod,a Fraser G.L. Parlane,a Brian Lam.a



Prof. Curtis P. Berlinguette is a Professor of Chemistry and Chemical & Biological Engineering at the University of British Columbia. He is also a CIFAR Program Co-Director, the Director of The Carbon Initiative (an academic cluster based at UBC that bridges the Faculties of Science and Applied Science), and a Principal Investigator at the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (SBQMI). Prof. Berliguette completed his undergraduate education in Chemistry at the University of Alberta before pursuing a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at Texas A&M University and a Postdoctoral Associate position at Harvard University. 

Prof. Berlinguette’s research themes include: solar cells, solar fuels, electrochemistry, energy storage, CO2 utilization, low energy fusion, and flexible automation / AI. He has an h-index of 49 and 9124 citations. He has also authored more than 145 scientific articles, filed 19 patents and participated in over 135 invited lectures at leading universities and international conferences. 

Prof. Berlinguette’s expertise in the fields of chemistry and materials science is evidenced by numerous recognitions including: CSC Award for Research Excellence in Materials Chemistry (2020), Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry (2018), RSC Rutherford Memorial Medal in Chemistry (2016), NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship (2016), Strem Chemicals Award for Pure or Applied Inorganic Chemistry (2015), CIFAR Fellowship (2015), Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 (2012), Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (2011), and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Energy Conversion (2008). 



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