Commercial Crystallography Robots to be Employed by Three Beamlines at the New Diamond Synchrotron

Commercial Crystallography Robots to be Employed by Three Beamlines at the New Diamond Synchrotron

The Woodlands, TX — June 15, 2005. Rigaku today announced that Diamond Light Source Ltd. has ordered three ACTOR™ robots for delivery to three of their macromolecular crystallography beamlines (I02, I03 & I04) currently under construction. This sale further solidifies a trend toward using proven commercially available robotics and instrumentation for leading-edge synchrotron installations. The crystallography robots will be installed beginning in 2006, in time for the facility's opening to scientific users beginning in January 2007.

The ACTOR system is the world's first commercial robotic system for automated sample handling of frozen crystals and winner of the 2002 R&D 100 Award. In recent years, synchrotron beamlines have advanced in terms of flux, speed and automation making high-throughput crystallography (HTC) routine. Despite these advancements in data collection hardware, sample mounting and alignment have to-date remained an essentially manual process or have only been automated with proprietary in-house robotic designs. ACTOR provides for automatic crystal transport, orientation and retrieval within the confines of the beamline hutch, eliminating time consuming sample manipulation tasks currently required for routine crystal screening and data collection.

Diamond Light Source is a new synchrotron facility currently under construction in South Oxfordshire, UK, adjacent to the CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Due to a high level of demand from the user community, one of the key areas of research for Diamond will be the life sciences. In 2007, three of the seven Phase 1 beamlines will be dedicated to the field of Structural Biology, and in particular macromolecular crystallography. There will be further life science beamlines built as part of Phase 2. By 2007, Diamond will have a team of over 300 and will welcome about 2,000 scientific users per annum.

Dr. Liz Duke, Principal Beamline Scientist for the Phase 1 Macromolecular Crystallography Beamlines, comments, "Having a robotic system for automated sample handling of frozen crystals will greatly increase the efficiency of our macromolecular crystallography beamlines. We want our user community to get the most out of each visit to Diamond and this system will allow us to offer them highly productive experimental facilities. High sample throughput is crucial, particularly in the area of Structural Biology, as experimenters can often get through hundreds of samples in a single day of beamtime at a synchrotron facility such as Diamond."

Rigaku—Leading With Innovation

Since its inception in Japan in 1951, Rigaku has been at the forefront of analytical and industrial instrumentation technology. Rigaku and its subsidiaries form a global group focused on life sciences and general purpose analytical instrumentation. With hundreds of major innovations to their credit, Rigaku companies are world leaders in the fields of small molecule and protein crystallography, X-ray spectrometry and diffraction, X-ray optics, as well as semiconductor metrology. Rigaku employs over 1,100 people in the manufacture and support of its analytical equipment. Its products are in use in more than 70 countries—supporting research, development, and quality assurance activities. Throughout the world, Rigaku continuously promotes partnerships, dialog, and innovation within the global scientific and industrial community.

For further information, contact:

Joseph D. Ferrara, Ph.D.
VP Product Marketing and CSO
Rigaku Americas Corporation
Tel: (281) 362-2300
eMail: Joseph D. Ferrara