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Development of an automated handling system for protein crystallography

: Malthan, D.; Dobler, H.; Pohl, E.

Association for Laboratory Automation:
LabAutomation 2003. Final Program & Abstracts : Seventh annual educational conference and exhibition. February 2-5, 2003, Palm Springs, CA, USA
Palm Springs, CA, USA, 2003
LabAutomation <7, 2003, Palm Springs/Calif.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IPA ()
protein crystallography; synchrotron radiation; Biologie; Makromolekül; Strahlung

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Hamburg Outstation is located on the campus of the Deutsche Elektronen Synchrotron (DESY) where the high-energy synchrotron radiation is used to perform experiments in the field of structural biology. The EMBL currently operates five synchrotron beam lines for protein crystallography, which represents the most powerful tool to determine the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules to atomic resolution. The knowledge of the structure is the key for understanding the biophysical properties as well as function and regulation of proteins and DNA.
To reduce set-up times, an automated system for handling and mounting of the crystals has been developed by Fraunhofer IPA. Central element of the system is a 6-axis articulated "human-scale" robot, equipped with a tailored gripper, moving crystal samples between the liquid nitrogen bath and the crystal holder.
The presentation describes the handling concept, the elements of the system and the features of the control and sample tracking system.