Robotics and High Throughput Screening (HTS) tools and combinatorial methodologies can be used to accelerate the preparation of formulations and to screen a large set of parameters (type of ingredients, ratios, temperature, pH, …) by miniaturization and parallelization. Several challenges have to be addressed in the field of formulation: highly viscous materials need to be handled with a good precision and efficiently mixed at small scale, characterization devices and algorithms need to be developed because there are only a few commercially available.
The implementation of smaller scale experimentation on a robotic platform is promising to extend the domain of investigation in the very preliminary phases of projects for selecting the best candidates among thousands of compositions.
During the last four years, three significant workflows were developed to investigate phase diagrams:
– Critical temperature measurements of polyzwitterions in water
– Selection of surfactants for enhanced oil recovery
– Data acquisition concerning the process of silica synthesis.
Not only formulation preparation was automated using the LOF robotic liquid handling platforms, but also tools and methods were developed for rapid evaluation of samples, in particular fully automated processes based on image analysis to extract hits.