Automated Crystallization System for Material Sciences

The development of new materials is of great importance for many areas of industry and research. In the research project ADAM - Autonomous Development of Advanced Materials (ERC Synergy Grant 856405), scientists from the Center for Life Science Automation at the University of Rostock (PI Prof. Dr. K. Thurow), the University of Liverpool (PI Prof. Dr. A. Cooper) and the University of Southampton (PI Prof. Dr. G. Day) work together on the development of innovative automated processes for the development of new materials.

An important key point is the determination of the crystal structures of the developed substances. Crystallization is usually carried out manually and is a very time-consuming process, depending on the substances and solvents used. With the development of an automated system at celisca, this process can now be carried out fully automatically. The samples are fed to the robot-based system as solids. The automation system handles the dissolution of the samples, the crystallization, the grinding of the crystals formed and the transfer of the final crystals to the measuring plates. Sample processing also includes automated capping and decapping steps. A camera-based monitoring of the crystallization process ensures a fully automated sample processing. A mobile robot takes over the delivery of the samples from a central storage and the transport of the final measuring plates to a final destination.

The system in its current form enables the parallel processing of up to 72 samples and can be used for systematic screening of crystallization processes.