The Novel Materials Discovery Laboratory (NoMa), a new European Centre of Excellence, will bring together physicists, chemists, materials and computer scientists, and industry to develop a Materials Encyclopaedia and advanced tools for Big-Data Analytics to facilitate the discovery, creation and utilisation of new materials. It includes eight leading materials European science centres and four super-computing centres, this includes the Institute of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry rom the University of Barcelona (IQTCUB) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. The project is funded for an initial three-year period and it has received almost 5 million euro under the EU Horizon 2020 programme.
NoMaD will develop a Materials Encyclopaedia that offers in-depth characterization of materials and their properties from computed data. It will enable searches for materials that exhibit desired properties and functions, to meet specific scientific or industrial requirements. Powerful visualisation and virtual-reality tools, offering multi-level and multi-dimensional navigation of the data, will be developed and made available.
"The University of Barcelona will be responsible for incorporating and unifying the codes of quantum chemistry as well as the visualization of results in order that they could be consulted in the NoMaD database", says Professor Francesc Illas, principal investigator of one of NoMaD nodes and director of the IQTCUB, a centre that belongs to the Reference Network of R+D+i on Theoretical and Computational Chemistry (XRQTC) of Catalonia.
Furthermore, scientists will devise novel tools that can identify hitherto-unknown structure and trends in the large chemical compound space —an important tool for identifying promising new materials. These actions will help to identify new physical phenomena; they will advance materials science and engineering, and they may yield novel technological devices and products.
Materials science and engineering
Materials science and engineering is the exploration of how materials behave and how they may be used in technological systems. New materials influence all aspects of our society, as they are important in the development of essentially every new commercial product, be it for better or novel solar panels, harder surfaces, lighter metals, and countless other applications. The number of different materials is very large; so far, we only know very few of those materials and the potential value of new materials is enormous.
NoMaD partners are: Max Planck Society, leader of the project; King’s College London; Humboldt University of Berlin; University of Cambridge; University of Barcelona; Aalto University (Helsinki), Technical University of Denmark; Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (Germany); CSC - IT Center for Science (Helsinki), Barcelona Supercomputing Center, and the British company Pintail.