High-Speed Materials Design

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Science  25 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5325, pp. 474-475
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5325.474

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Materials scientists are following the lead of their colleagues in drug design. They are using banks of robots and computers to systematically react chemical ingredients in thousands of different combinations at once, then test the products in hopes of finding blockbuster new compounds. Several small start-up companies have attracted tens of millions of dollars to pursue this approach, and early results look promising. But designing materials by the numbers may not be as easy--or as lucrative--as combinatorial drug design.