High-Throughput Experimentation uOttawa Core Facility

The High-Throughput Facility is an integral part of the Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovation. The workflows within the facility were specifically designed to run a large number of reactions on very small scale in a fully-automated fashion - therefore minimizing cost, time and experimental error.

Such an approach enables the user to screen a whole array of reaction conditions and narrow it down to a few potential hits in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost that it would take through traditional research methods.

The High-Throughput Facility encourages external academic users and collaborators; please contact us for more information.

High-Throughput Experimentation Facility Equipment

It is no surprise that high-throughput technology's role in research has greatly increased over the past few years.  Not only does it allow the more efficient use of resources, but it also boosts productivity, encourages innovative thinking, and accelerates research through the speedier discovery of significant trends.  As an added benefit, it also increases the chances of stumbling upon an unexpected result.  Although particularly useful in homogeneous catalysis, the technology finds a wide range of applications within the academic world.

The CCRI's High-Throughput Experimentation Facility is equipped with instrumentation specifically designed to conduct high-throughput experiments.  Projects and applications vary greatly; some examples being optimization, lead discovery, and mechanistic insight - all leading to a faster path to rational catalyst design.

Reaction plates are specified with proprietary design software, which features an intuitive drag-and-drop user interface to map reagents to vials.  Equations can be used to define relationships within components such as ratios, concentrations, and gradients, an approach which greatly facilitates modifications to the composition layout as research progresses.

The facility is equipped with a state-of-the-art reaction screening system (Unchained Labs’ Freeslate CM3), which rapidly and accurately sets up the reaction plates according to the values specified by the user in the design.  Features powder-dispensing (mg scale), liquid and viscous dispense (fixed tips and PDT), temperature control of -20°C to 150°C, magnetic/vortex stirring, as well as a vial capping/decapping station.  Standard reaction volumes are of 300-800 µL for 96-well plates.  The system is located in a triple drybox, to which an eight-solvent purification system is directly plumbed.

A second simple sample processor can be used for chemistries that do not require an inert atmosphere, as well as for workup and daughtering procedures, which are often required prior to analysisThe reaction screening modules are controlled by automation software, which is highly flexible and programmable.  Protocols can be custom-developed for specific applications - examples include timed additions, reaction workups, samplings, and quenchings.

For reactions that are to be carried out under pressure, plates can be encased in a steel reactor block and pressurized/heated with the Screening Pressure Reactor (SPR).  The system allows pressures up to 200 bar (equipped with MFCs, pressure regulated through a computer-controlled BPR) and temperatures up to 400°C; powerful vortex mixing ensures superior solid/gas/liquid contact.  A 4-position heated orbital shaker is also available (150 bar, 180°C).  Reaction volumes are generally of 300-600 µL for 96-well plate configurations and of 1500-2500 µL for 24-well plates.   Additionally, a set of six independent slurry reactors, rated to 200 bar and 350°C, offers reactor volumes of 25 mL (configurable), with manual and automated sampling being available.

The HTE lab is outfitted with several analytical instruments: GC/FIDs, HPLC/DAD and GC/MS (EI/CI modes), hybrid SFC/HPLC chromatograph (DAD and MS detectors) – all of which are equipped with autosamplers that can handle multiwell plate formats.  A broad selection of chiral columns is also available for enantioselective work. As a low-cost analysis option, reaction plates can also be spotted onto TLC plates with the use of a robotic arm


Roxanne Clément
High-Throughput Experimentation Facility Manager (CCRI)
Telephone: (613) 562-5800, ext. 2973

Back to top