‘Digital Alchemist’ Uses Computer to Design New Materials

Serge Nakhmanson describes himself as a ‘digital alchemist.’ A former scientist with the Argonne National Laboratory, he specializes in the computer-based design and discovery of advanced multifunctional materials.

Nakhmanson spends countless hours in his research lab painstakingly tweaking the identities of individual atoms and altering their chemical bindings in an attempt to assemble new material templates that have superior physical or chemical behaviors. Those virtual materials may exhibit enhanced electrical conductivity or mechanical toughness. Or, in some cases, an entirely new material may be created that performs differently from anything else known to exist.

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