Catalyst screening

The problem

There are huge drivers in the search for better catalysts: reduce reaction costs, simplify reaction complexity, reduce side reactions, and decrease waste. The need to develop robust and reproducible conditions for reaction scale drives a need to better understand the experimental conditions and the best catalysts. High throughput catalyst screening requires reagent transfer, and the ability to set up reactions in small scale, often under pressure. The combination of these requirements in an automated system is challenging because few systems can combine all these effectively. Traditionally, the only way to get effective catalyst screening is to run a lot more experiments and spend days on end at the bench.

The right tool for the job

Big Kahuna and Junior are configurable automation platforms that pull together many of the critical steps required for catalyst screening. If you’re interested in combining a couple of these tasks, Junior is the benchtop solution ready to take them on. If you want to tackle the whole enchilada, Big Kahuna can take on all that and then some.

What’s possible

Powder dispense

Powder dispensing can easily be put on a Big Kahuna or Junior to prep many catalysts using a Storage Vial (SV) hopper. These hoppers work with standard 4 mL glass vials that are outfitted with a disposable dispense head. You can fit dozens of vials on deck, and hundreds off deck. These small hoppers allow for greater flexibility in reagent or catalyst screening and can be tracked and used across multiple experimental runs.

Heated liquid dispense

Big Kahuna and Junior have numerous options for transferring liquids, the most useful being the heated, spreadable six-tip. The temperature of the tip can go to 120 °C, and the pitch of the needles can vary from 9 – 20 mm, ensuring you get solutions in and out of a 96-well plate as well as a larger format vial. There is also an extendable tip if you just need one solution at a time, and the head can be put into 4-tip mode if that’s a better format for you.

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Small scale pressurized reactions

The Deck Screening Pressure Reactor (DSPR) can be used in conjunction with a heated stir bay on the Big Kahuna or Junior. Up to 96 reactions can be prepared in a single run. After the reactor is clamped shut, it can be pressurized up to 200 psi (13.8 bar), and the catalyst screening reactions are run simultaneously.

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Scaling up and dialing in pressure reactions

If you need a larger volume range, or higher pressure, or just to run different conditions, the Optimization Sampling Reactor (OSR) is the best choice to get on your Big Kahuna or Junior. Up to 8 experiments can be run under pressure, either together or in sequence. Each catalyst screening reaction can be set at different pressures and temperatures so you can work out the best conditions. In addition to the large temperature range (-15 °C to 200 °C), you can run at higher pressure (400 psi, 27.6 bar), and get this, you can even sample during the run without disrupting the reaction’s temperature, pressure, or gas composition.

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Higher temperature and pressure reactions

If you think 200 °C and 400 psi is child’s play, go right to the Screening Pressure Reactor (SPR). The SPR is a standalone reactor that you can use in tandem with reaction prep done on Big Kahuna or Junior. The SPR can go all the way up to 400 °C and 3000 psi (207 bar), so you can go as high as you want and can run up to 96 reactions simultaneously at a single temperature and pressure point.

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Junior automates all your back-and-forth, over and over again, hands-on work. Explore more reaction and formulation conditions, prep samples, or hand off any other tasks you think would be better performed if you’re not the one doing it.

Big Kahuna

Big Kahuna gives you automated, high-throughput, end-to-end solutions for biologics, gene therapy vectors, small molecules, polymers and catalysts. It’s completely configurable and helps you save money and time while getting more work done.


Want more info?

Every lab has different bottlenecks and challenges. We’re all about partnering with you to build the bespoke solution that lets you do science faster and better. Have questions or can’t wait to speak with our expert team to find out what might be possible?