This startup is using AI to discover new materials


Orbital Materials, a startup founded by former DeepMind researcher Jonathan Godwin, is leveraging AI technology to revolutionize the manufacturing of new physical materials. Inspired by the success of AI systems like AlphaFold, Godwin set out to streamline the traditional, time-consuming process of material discovery by combining AI expertise with materials science.


The startup’s proprietary AI model, named Linus, serves as the foundation of its research and development efforts in New Jersey. Scientists input natural language instructions, such as desired material properties, and Linus generates 3D molecular structures that meet the specified criteria. Although not infallible, Linus has successfully produced a carbon dioxide-capturing filter and aims to unveil more innovations in the future.


Orbital Materials isn’t the only player in the field of AI-driven materials R&D. Competitors like Osmium AI and academic research have also explored using AI to accelerate materials design workflows. What sets Orbital apart is its diverse data set and AI model, which Godwin likens to the success of large language models like AlphaFold in different domains.


While Orbital plans to bring materials to the proof of concept stage, it doesn’t intend to manufacture them. Instead, the startup seeks partnerships with outside manufacturers to bring these advanced materials to market. A recent Series A funding round, led by Radical Ventures and Toyota Ventures, secured $16 million to expand Orbital’s data science and wet lab teams.


In a burgeoning landscape where demand for new advanced materials is rapidly increasing, Orbital Materials is at the forefront of innovation, aiming to commercialize advanced materials at unprecedented speeds. Through the fusion of AI and materials science, Orbital is poised to reshape the future of material discovery and bring transformative solutions to industries in need of cutting-edge materials.



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