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Automated Sample Preparation Methods and Apparatus for High Throughput Conventional Differential Scanning Calorimetry

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000132393D
Publication Date: 2005-Dec-12
Document File: 2 page(s) / 25K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A method of high throughput thermal analysis is conventional-type DSC with increased throughput, which can be achieved through a combination of multiple measuring sites and automated sample handling. A key enabling technology required to make this practical is an automated method of preparing the samples, which generally consists of a few mg of polymer in a sealed metal foil pan. The idea consists of a number of methods and apparatus for automating the sample preparation procedure and integrating it with solution handling robots.

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Automated Sample Preparation Methods and Apparatus for High Throughput Conventional Differential Scanning Calorimetry

A method of high throughput thermal analysis is conventional-type DSC with increased throughput, which can be achieved through a combination of multiple measuring sites and automated sample handling. A key enabling technology required to make this practical is an automated method of preparing the samples, which generally consists of a few mg of polymer in a sealed metal foil pan. The idea consists of a number of methods and apparatus for automating the sample preparation procedure and integrating it with solution handling robots.

Companies such as TA instruments currently sell single-position DSC’s with automatic loading of samples into the measurement cell; however the samples must still be prepared manually, which involves placing the sample in a small metal foil pan, placing a lid on top, placing the pans in a special apparatus which is used to crimp the edges and seal the pan, and weighing the pan. If conventional DSC is to be adapted for true high throughput (e.g. by combining automatic sample loading with multiple test heads or sites), manual sample preparation is simply not an option. The present idea provides for apparatus and methods which allow for automated sample preparation in a manner which is easily utilized in combination with other high throughput technologies.

EXAMPLE 1 - A rectangular piece of metal foil is placed on the deck of a liquid handling robotic work station. The robot dispenses polymer solutions onto an array of positions on the foil, and the solutions are dried to form film-type samples. Confinement of the liquids to the desired regions may be facilitated by various types of uniform or non-uniform chemical treatment of the foil; by pre-forming the foil into a “muffin tin” geometry; or by pressing a rubber gasket with holes against the foil to create wells, and removing the gasket after the solutions are dry. Following the deposition step, a second piece of foil is placed on top of the first piece. Some type of die(s) is/are used to press the two foils together, cut the foils into separate pieces for each sample, and crimp or seal the edges of the cut pieces to give sealed pans similar to those used in conventional DSC. The cutting/sealing operation preferably leaves the sample cells supported in a fashion such that they can easily be handled by a robot which loads them sequentially into one or more DSC cells; or in a fashion such that they may b...