Autonomous robotic experimentation strategies are rapidly rising in use because, without the need for user intervention, they can efficiently and precisely converge onto optimal intrinsic and extrinsic synthesis conditions for a wide range of emerging materials. However, as the material syntheses become more complex, the meta-decisions of artificial intelligence (AI)-guided decision-making algorithms used in autonomous platforms become more important. In this work, a surrogate model is developed using data from over 1000 in-house conducted syntheses of metal halide perovskite quantum dots in a self-driven modular microfluidic material synthesizer. The model is designed to represent the global failure rate, unfeasible regions of the synthesis space, synthesis ground truth, and sampling noise of a real robotic material synthesis system with multiple output parameters (peak emission, emission linewidth, and quantum yield). With this model, over 150 AI-guided decision-making strategies within a single-period horizon reinforcement learning framework are automatically explored across more than 600 000 simulated experiments – the equivalent of 7.5 years of continuous robotic operation and 400 L of reagents – to identify the most effective methods for accelerated materials development with multiple objectives. Specifically, the structure and meta-decisions of an ensemble neural network-based material development strategy are investigated, which offers a favorable technique for intelligently and efficiently navigating a complex material synthesis space with multiple targets. The developed ensemble neural network-based decision-making algorithm enables more efficient material formulation optimization in a no prior information environment than well-established algorithms.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Most popular 2021 physical and theoretical chemistry articles, 2021