Welcome to the High-Throughput Experimentation Facility!

The High-Throughput Facility is an integral part of the Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovation; it is equipped with software and instrumentation specifically designed to execute and analyze sets of high-throughput experiments. The workflows enable researchers to rapidly screen vast arrays of reaction conditions while minimizing cost, time, and experimental error. Projects and applications vary greatly from optimization to lead discovery, mechanistic insight, and enantioselective work..

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

Overview of the High-Throughput Experimentation Facility

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, accelerates research through the speedier discovery of significant trends, as well as 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.

Multiwell reaction plate and 3D data

The Facility is equipped with a state-of-the-art reaction screening system (Unchained Labs’ Freeslate CM3), which rapidly and accurately sets up reaction plates according to values specified by the user through intuitive design software. The platform features powder-dispensing at the milligram scale, liquid, slurry, and viscous dispense – both with fixed tips and positive displacement tips - temperature control of -20°C to 150°C (up to 180ºC on alternative standalone stirrer), magnetic and vortex stirring, as well as a vial capping/decapping station. Standard reaction volumes are typically of 100-600 µL for 96-well plates. The system is located in a triple drybox which provides an inert atmosphere for sensitive reactions and to which an eight-solvent purification system is directly plumbed for easy access to dry organic solvents. The reaction screening modules are controlled by highly flexible and programmable automation software and protocols can be custom-developed for specific applications – examples include timed additions, reaction workups, samplings, and quenchings. Plate evaporators, a 96-well positive pressure manifold processor, and several multichannel pipettors are also available. A more simple benchtop sample processor is also available to perform workup and daughtering/dilution procedures prior to conducting analysis.

HTE robotic platform functionality

Reactions may also be carried out under pressure of up to 200 bar by enclosing plates in reactor blocks which are then pressurized, heated and mixed using either an electronically-controlled pressure reactor equipped with and external gas panel and MFCs, or a more basic four-position orbital shaker/heater.

In order to enhance screening capabilities, the Facility has a series of commercial precatalysts that have been pre-dispensed into reaction vials – thus allowing the more rapid and efficient setup of multiple reaction conditions; be it to optimize a step within a given synthesis or evaluate the performance of a synthesized catalyst against a series of commercially available ones. Several bases and solvents common to cross-couplings are also available as part of this initiative

Screening pressure reactor

The High-Throughput Experimentation lab is outfitted with several analytical instruments: GC/FID, HPLC/DAD and GC/MS (EI/CI modes), as well as a hybrid SFC/HPLC chromatograph (DAD and multimode source MS) – all of which are equipped with autosamplers that can handle multiwell plate formats. Additionally, a broad selection of chiral columns is available for enantioselective work. The workflows are interfaced to a database and all data from design, execution, and analysis is securely recorded and can easily be retrieved into standard spreadsheet software for further processing.

HPLC/SFC-MS analytical instrument

The Facility works with research groups from academic institutes across the world, and is actively building industrial partnerships through collaborations, independent projects, and fee-for service screens which include analysis and generation of data. In recent years, the Facility has worked with approximately 25 internal and external academic groups involving at least 50 students and 40 different projects; collaborative work was also carried out with several industrial partners, such as GreenCentre Canada, Segetis, BioAmber, and ICES/SBIC.

The Facility is managed by Roxanne Clément (M.Sc., Organic Chemistry) who has over 16 years of experience in high-throughput experimentation with recognized skills in designing and conducting experiments using high-throughput technology, performing related analysis and data collection, as well as developing and implementing application-specific protocols and workflows with a strong emphasis on quality control and reproducibility.  She has been involved in several different projects with both academic and industrial collaborators – catalyst screening within a range of applications; optimization, lead discovery, biomass conversion, enantioselective and kinetic studies.

Please contact us in order to discuss your project or screening needs.

Contact us

High-Throughput Experimentation Facility

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