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Project Photoresist

Finding and synthesizing a new molecule in less than a year.

Discovering new materials is essential to creating products that address global sustainability challenges. Semiconductors are core to much of the technology we use today, and in 2020, they became the subject of regulatory scrutiny.

Photoacid generators (PAGs), a critical class of materials used in semiconductor manufacturing, were evaluated more closely for environmental risks. So IBM Research set out to discover more sustainable, viable materials.

Discovering a new molecule usually takes up to 10 years and $10–100 million. We quickly synthesized three novel PAG candidates by the end of 2020—meeting an environmental challenge in record time. With our end-to-end AI-powered workflow, we were able to scale and handle problems in a way human scientists simply cannot, dramatically accelerating the discovery process.

Four AI technologies accelerating discovery

See how these connected tools resolved bottlenecks, removed frictions, and leveraged computation and automation.

01Deep Search

1000xfaster ingestion

Make connections from unstructured data.

02AI-enriched Simulation

10–100xfaster screening

Understand more about data with less computing.

03Generative Models

10xfaster designs

Expand creativity in the molecular design process.


100xfaster synthesis

Make a new material without ever going into the lab.

Discovery Workloads
on the Hybrid Cloud

Emerging discovery workflows are posing new challenges for compute, network, storage, and usability. IBM Research supports these new workflows by bringing together world-class physical infrastructure, a hybrid cloud platform that unifies computing, data, and the user experience, and full-stack intelligence for orchestrating discovery workflows across computing environments.