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The University of Southampton
The Southampton Diffraction Centre


Macromolecular crystallisation is an iterative process in which crystallisation conditions are first identified and then optimised, initially judged by the appearance of the crystals and ultimately by their diffraction quality. The crystallisation facility provides part-automated services for all steps, with diffraction experiments being carried out at the SDC diffraction facilities.

The crystallisation pipeline consists of the following components:


Gryphon Drop Setter

Rigaku in partnership with Art Robbins Instruments (ARI) provide automated drop setter. The Gryphon dispenses into one well plate at the time. The drop setter can also be used for microseeding or additive screens.

Dispense range: 100nl to 100µl
Accuracy: CV of 5% or better


Alchemist DT

Screen formulation is automated through the Rigaku Alchemist DT with a dispense range of 1µl to 10ml. High dispense accuracy is achieved through the Tapper technology and cross-contamination is eliminated due to the patented BirdFeeders. 

Screens can be easily designed and optimised with the CrystalTrak software package, which also takes care of stock solution management and utilises barcode tracking.


Imaging & Storage

To come soon: Automation of inspection and management of experimental well plates for the detection of crystals from crystallisation trials with the Minstrel drop imager and Gallery 1.60 plate hotel/incubator.


Crystal mounting

Several polarising light microscopes are available both at the SDC facility in Chemistry and the IfLS for mounting crystals from the well plates onto Mitegen pins ready for further investigation by diffraction.

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