Since the industrial revolution, materials have been scaled-up through a process known as the “stage-gate” – a linear approach with rigid timelines.
Conventional R&D is plagued :
To cope with the highly unpredictable and complex nature of nanomaterials – scale-up requires a new tactic.
By using a more “agile” workflow, Accelerated Materials develops flexible and faster project plans
This workflow is implemented with a combination of high intensity production technology, artificial intelligence and automated laboratories, described below
The annular microreactor, recently developed at the University of Cambridge, utilizes a hydrodynamic condition known as “annular flow” to achieve rapid mixing with high and uniform shear rate distributions.
When materials are synthesized in a “bottom-up” fashion from liquid precursors, fine manipulation of shear rates enable control over the formation dynamics of nanomaterials, which include non-classical phenomena such as oriented attachment and two-step nucleation pathways.
Importantly, this reactor is continuous and resistant to clogging, which increases production throughput and stability. We have validated the ability of this reactor to produce high quality materials in a continuous fashion, In multiple case studies, from the synthesis of carbon quantum dots to pharmaceutical nanocrystals.
Within a single reactor we currently achieve production rates of up to 20 kg/day (on a dry solids basis). This means that a given synthesis can be methodically scaled from gram to kilogram quantities in a significantly decreased number of experiments and time.
Our passive regulating distributor technology utilizes propietary channel geometries to create highly uniform distributions of flows. In contrast to conventional scale-up procedures, which normally increase the size of a process vessel (“scale-out”), using a manifold to parallelize identifical process units (“number-up”) increases process uniformity, conserves process characteristics from the pilot scale, decreases R&D required for scale-up, and reduces capital costs.
Unlike off-the-shelf distributors, which either include expensive active control elements or do not compensate at all for downstream variation, our custom designed manifolds are low-cost and can be used in virtually any application with robust tolerances to downstream variations and lower pressure drops.
A technologist can spend days analysing a given data set.
We use in-house machine learning algorithms based on Bayesian optimisation and Gaussian process models, which automatically
1) create statistical models from large data sets
2) predict areas of high performance and high production yields
3) suggest the best possible experiments to conduct next
Pairing algorithms with high throughput synthesis and analytical tools further accelerates our R&D, enabling us to gather maximum information in a minimal amount of time. In a recent study, we illustrated the ability to rapidly generate high performance nano-ZnO materials using our AI platform.
One effort we are pioneering at the Innovation Centre in Digital Molecular Technologies is the creation of an open-source python coding framework for quickly automating experiments, and pairing them with machine learning algorithms.
We have expertise in fabricating a variety of industrial and novel material classes. Below you can find a general description of each type – contact our experts for more information
Metal oxides are an incredibly diverse material class, which form structures including nanospheres, rods and sheets. AM’s reactor technology ensures tight control over both particle morphology, size and crystallinity, leading to better application performance.
We specialise in incorporating metal oxide nanostructures into:
Metal organic frameworks (or MOFs) are a relatively new class of materials composed of organic ligands which “link” metal ions into a kind of molecular sponge. Their sponge-like structure enables them to selectively adsorb large quantities per unit mass.
One of the principal challenges in creating MOF products is their economical mass production. Our reactor technology increases the efficiency and quality of MOF production orders of magnitude.
Promising applications for MOFs include:
The delivery characteristics of many pharmaceuticals particles are affected their crystallinity, size and shape. Furthermore, many pharmaceutical crystallisers are operated in batch, which have significantly lower efficiencies.
With both our distributors and reactor technologies, we provide a clear route to convert operations from batch to continuous at gram or kilogram scales.
Quantum dots are semiconductor nanoparticles with different electrical and chemical characteristics than their bulk forms. Their applications are steadily growing, with applications in products like electronic displays.
Many quantum dots currently used are made from toxic, heavy metals. Carbon quantum dots are more similar to activated carbon and graphene, which have lower cytotoxicity and emerging applications as biosensors.
Contact us to find out more about the carbon quantum dots we can supply.
Pushing nanomaterials up to the kilogram scale – An accelerated approach for synthesizing antimicrobial ZnO with high shear reactors, machine learning and high-throughput analysis