Method for optimizing coating properties based on an evolutionary algorithm approach

Davide Carta, Laura Villanova, Stefano Costacurta, Alessandro Patelli, Irene Poli, Simone Vezzu, Paolo Scopece, Fabio Lisi, Kate Smith‑Miles, Rob J Hyndman, Anita J Hill, Paolo Falcaro
(2011) Analytical Chemistry 83(16), 6373–6380


In industry as well as many areas of scientific research, data collected often contain a number of responses of interest for a chosen set of exploratory variables. Optimization of such multivariable multiresponse systems is a challenge well suited to genetic algorithms as global optimization tools. One such example is the optimization of coating surfaces with the required absolute and relative sensitivity for detecting analytes using devices such as sensor arrays. High-throughput synthesis and screening methods can be used to accelerate materials discovery and optimization; however, an important practical consideration for successful optimization of materials for arrays and other applications is the ability to generate adequate information from a minimum number of experiments. Here we present a case study to evaluate the efficiency of a novel evolutionary model-based multiresponse approach (EMMA) that enables the optimization of a coating while minimizing the number of experiments. EMMA plans the experiments and simultaneously models the material properties. We illustrate this novel procedure for materials optimization by testing the algorithm on a sol-gel synthetic route for production and optimization of a well studied amino-methyl-silane coating. The response variables of the coating have been optimized based on application criteria for micro- and macro-array surfaces. Spotting performance has been monitored using a fluorescent dye molecule for demonstration purposes and measured using a laser scanner. Optimization is achieved by exploring less than 2% of the possible experiments, resulting in identification of the most influential compositional variables. Use of EMMA to optimize control factors of a product or process is illustrated, and the proposed approach is shown to be a promising tool for simultaneously optimizing and modeling multivariable multiresponse systems.