Combinatorial Science - Polymer Synthesis
The polymer synthesis systems are used for parallel synthesis of polymer libraries. Two systems are available for high throughput polymer synthesis – the Symyx batch reactor system and the Chemspeed Autoplant A100.
The Symyx batch reactor system is comprised of a dual-arm liquid dispensing robot that is housed inside a glove box under dry nitrogen. The inert environment allows for open containers of sensitive reagents to be located on the deck for aspiration and dispensing into the array vials. Liquid viscosities up to 50 cps can be accurately dispensed.
A PowderniumTM automated powder dispensing system is also in the glove box for the dispensing of solid raw materials (powders) into the reactor arrays.
The deck of the unit has nine bays that receive the standard 96 (8x12) 1 ml per well microtiter plates. Other formats are also available such as a 2x3 plate that holds six, 20 ml vials and a 4x6 plate that holds 24, eight ml vials. Other plates are used to hold larger volume jars containing various reagent solutions. Magnetic stirring and heating (up to 120 °C) are available in the middle three bays.
The second synthesis system is a Chemspeed Autoplant A100TM. This reactor system can handle more complex process conditions than the batch system. The system consists of 12 reactor modules. Each reactor module contains two 100-ml stainless steel reactors having mechanical stirring and reflux cooling. The temperature in each reactor can be controlled independently over a range of -10 to 250 °C. Solid and liquid reagents can be automatically charged to each reactor. In batch mode, up to 24 reactions can be run simultaneously.
Typically, the system is set-up to operate in semi-continuous mode. In this case, one of the vessels is designated as the reactor and the other as the feed vessel. A third 25-ml feed vessel is also present in each reactor module. Typically, the reactor vessel is charged with solvent and heated to reaction temperature. The other vessel is charged with the monomers and the third feed vessel is charged with the initiator. The contents of the two feed vessels are then fed slowly to the reactor using two syringe pumps on the reactor module. In this mode, up to 12 reactions can be conducted simultaneously and both compositional variations as well as process variations can be explored.