The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) develops and uses molecules and materials across a diverse range of areas including therapeutics, electronics, coatings, and fuels. Application areas with particularly unique relevance to national security, such as energetics, tend not to keep pace with the need for innovation and new performance characteristics. In areas such as these, particularly ones that have safety and access concerns, a small group of domain experts typically develops structures with projected relevance via rational design and computational modeling, without an ability to exploit new synthesis and molecular design talent of the broader chemistry community. The Molecular Scaffold Design Collective (MSDC) will address this challenge by assessing a new model for designing, synthesizing, and testing materials in niche application spaces typically limited to a small community of experts, to accelerate and expand our materials capabilities.
MSDC will team synthetic and formulation experts with no domain knowledge in energetics with DoD energetics and formulation scientists. Energetics, meaning energy-dense molecules used for applications such as explosives and propellants, provide a strong foundational example for the collaborative model because ultimate utility of any energetic molecule requires explicit consideration of the complex design space from molecule to formulation. Such a complex, niche area is best addressed with a diverse set of scientific talent from within and outside of the existing energetics community.
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