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Advanced High-Throughput Robotic System For Macromolecular Crystallography

Advanced High-Throughput Robotic System For Macromolecular Crystallography

The Woodlands, TX — August 5, 2004. Rigaku today formally announced the introduction of a new and advanced high-throughput robotic system, the Rigaku AGENT™, as first shown at the American Crystallographic Association annual meeting in Chicago, IL at the end of July. A significant extension of the renowned ACTOR™ system, the world's first commercial robotic system for automated sample handling of frozen crystals and winner of the 2002 R&D 100 Award, the new AGENT™ is designed to support both ports of a rotating anode generator with an intelligent software platform for crystal screening, automated crystal scoring, and subsequent high-resolution data collection for macromolecular structure solution. It is available as a new stand-alone system or as an upgrade for existing ACTOR™ customers.

A versatile platform configurable for a variety of high-throughput macromolecular crystallography requirements, the AGENT system nominally comprises a large modern radiation cabinet with a center mounted rotating anode X-ray generator, a gantrymounted ACTOR robot, and an external workstation running JDirector™ software. Both left and right generator ports can be fitted from a variety of available Confocal Multilayer optics, as well as with a goniometer and detector for each side. The 6-axis ACTOR robot is suspended from an overhead translation system that allows for automatic crystal transport, orientation and retrieval, from the standard 60 pin (Rigaku, ALS® , or ESRF®) magazine in the dewar to either goniometer. The system may not only be used with Rigaku goniometer and detectors (both Imaging Plate and CCD types), but will also accept all marresearch® and ADSC® detectors as well as standard marresearch® and Crystal Logic® horizontal-phi goniometers. AGENT is also compatible with a variety of low temperature systems, including the Rigaku X-stream™ 2000. An optional second dewar may be added to increase capacity for extended unattended operation.*

While the absolute configuration for each AGENT will depend on the specific needs of the end-user, the product was designed to be the ultimate in home laboratory automation. In this configuration, one port/optic/detector combination would be optimized for high-throughput screening of crystals while the other is configured for high-resolution data collection. So equipped, crystals may be automatically screened and scored on the screening side. Crystals matching certain scoring criteria could then be automatically transferred to the other port/optic/detector combination for high-resolution data collection. Thus, for the first time, unattended automated screening/scoring and high-resolution data collection can be performed simultaneously in a home lab environment, providing the potential for enormous gains in productivity.

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.

* marresearch, ADSC, Crystal Logic, ESRF and ALS are respectively trademarks of marresearch GmbH, Area Detector Systems Corporation, Crystal Logic, Inc., European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and Advanced Light Source.

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