Friday, May 30, 2008

MiniMapper in Lab

As I mentioned previously, Mettler-Toledo is giving us a trial with their MiniMapper/MiniBlock system. Tom Osborne was in my lab yesterday to set it up. We got as far as setting up the software to recognize the positions of bottles and racks and pumping through some methanol.

Once we're set up it looks like we'll be able to come pretty close to just copying columns from the Google spreadsheet of planned experiments to the MiniMapper software. This will make it very convenient for crowdsourcing Ugi experiments.

Actually the worksheet for trial #3 is already set up to accept suggested experiments from anyone - no login required. Just note your name in the contributor column and put in a little explanation for your reasoning. For example, after looking at the master table of Ugi reactions, you may have a hypothesis that aromatic aldehydes lead to Ugi product precipitates at 0.5 M concentration in methanol. Just set up a dozen experiments probing that question. See the MettlerTrial wiki page for more info. I'll explain more about this later but if anyone wants to discuss collaboration contact me.

We have the capacity of doing 96 experiments in parallel but Khalid will probably start with a dry run with pure methanol or a small section from Trial #1.

Tom made a good point about how organic chemists need to think differently when designing experiments in parallel with automation. We have done parallel runs in vials but it gets tricky for people to keep track of everything. Machines are much better at this type of thing. You have to ask different questions when faced with 96 reaction tubes vs. a round-bottomed flask.

And it looks like the MiniMapper software keeps a log in XML format - obviously more on that after our first trial...

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