AFRL engineer, University of Pennsylvania researcher to discuss autonomous experimentation systems

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) – An Air Force Research Laboratory research engineer has coauthored a review of autonomous research systems and their role in advancing future developments in materials science. The article, currently available online at and set to be published in the journal Matter, explores the current and future state of autonomous research systems, which are robots capable of directing and conducting their own research using artificial intelligence and automation.

Dr. Benji Maruyama, a pioneer in the field of autonomous materials research, developed the first autonomous research systems for materials, linking autonomous robotics, artificial intelligence, data science and experimental techniques, which ultimately aided his work in AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate.

In drafting this review, Maruyama partnered with Dr. Eric Stach, a professor of materials science and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Stach, the lead author, also serves as a laboratory director and faculty chair, and is a distinguished member in the materials research community, known for national and international partnerships.

AFRL is providing an opportunity for interested media outlets to attend a virtual media roundtable July 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. where Dr. Maruyama and Dr. Stach will discuss their research efforts surrounding this work. There will also be a Q/A session following.

The following is from the research summary:

“Solutions to many of the world’s problems depend upon materials research and development. However, advanced materials can take decades to discover and decades more to deploy fully. Humans and robots have begun to partner to advance science and technology orders of magnitude faster than humans do today through the development and exploitation of closed-loop, autonomous experimentation systems. This review discusses the specific challenges and opportunities related to materials discovery and development that will emerge from this new paradigm.”

Stach, Maruyama and the other coauthors from academia, industry, government laboratories (including the National Institute of Standards and Technology) and funding agencies across the United States “intend the article to spark interest in this emerging research area and to motivate potential practitioners by illustrating early successes.”

In highlighting how these systems facilitate faster, smarter research than what is possible today, the authors hope to “encourage a creative reimagining of the next generation of materials science infrastructure.”

Go HERE and HERE to learn more about how AFRL’s Autonomous Research System ARES revolutionized the research process.

Media interested in attending this online opportunity should respond to Bryan Ripple with AFRL Public Affairs at by 12 p.m. ET July 29 in order to obtain the log-in information for the event, which will be held on ZoomGov. The event will be recorded.

image of equipment

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Autonomous Research System (ARES) uses artificial intelligence and machine learning as part of a closed loop, automated scientific research process. The ARES platform is part of a next-generation research movement focused on human-machine partnering to create the next generation of materials for Air Force technology. (U.S. Air Force photo/David Dixon)