Robotic Optical Monitor for High Throughput Crystal Growth Experiments
Macromolecules are crystallized for crystallography in ?screens? consisting of numerous (30-200) small volumes (2 ? 50 muL) of combinations with several (2-10) other solutes. Each combination is frequently over days or weeks to evaluate growth, if any, of crystals, thereby creating of repetitious, labor-intensive tasks. This task could be assigned to an automated roving video microscope using a similar magnification to that used in crystallography (4X ? 70X). However, a roving videomicroscope, requires considerable volume, power, mass, autofocusing and moving mechanical parts. It can have a significant failure rate. These constitute undesirable features for spaceflight and inconvenience in the laboratory. A no-moving-parts Robotic Optical Monitor is proposed. Phase I research will consist of a trade study of the following embedded optoelectronic devices to be tested using a standardized crystal-growth chamber: a 1-dimensional lensless microscope, an area array lensless microscope, a square sensor array with lenslets, a multiangle light scatter sensor, and a two-angle light scatter sensor. The results comparing these methods' ability to provide digitized image or scattering data will be used to select the system(s) with the optimum combination of resolution/information content, power requirement, cost, accuracy and convenience. The selected system(s) will be the focus of Phase II research and market development.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Space Hardware Optimization Technology,
7200 Highway 150 Greenville, IN 47124
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