Multiscale prediction of functional self-assembled materials using machine learning: high-performance surfactant molecules
Various physical properties of functional materials can be induced by controlling their chemical molecular structures. Therefore, molecular design is crucial in the fields of engineering and materials science. With its remarkable development in various fields, machine learning combined with molecular simulation has recently been found to be effective at predicting the electronic structure of materials (Nat. Commun., 2017, 8, 872 and Nat. Commun., 2017, 8, 13890). However, previous studies have used similar microscale information as input and output data for machine learning, i.e., molecular structures and electronic structures. In this study, we determined whether multiscale data can be predicted using machine learning via a self-assembly functional material system. In particular, we investigated whether machine learning can be used to predict dispersion and viscosity, as the representative physical properties of a self-assembled surfactant solution, from the chemical molecular structures of a surfactant. The results showed that relatively accurate information on these physical properties can be predicted from the molecular structure, suggesting that machine learning can be used to predict multiscale systems, such as surfactant molecules, self-assembled micelle structures, and physical properties of solutions. The results of this study will aid in further development of the application of machine learning to materials science and molecular design.